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Upcoming Courses:
First Responder: January 27-31
First Responder: January 27-31
First Responder: January 27-31
First Responder: January 27-31
First Responder: January 27-31
First Responder: January 27-31
First Responder: January 27-31

First Responder or First Responder Level 3?

I have heard so many different names applied to the First Responder Course.  What is the difference between an FR, a First Responder, an FR 1, FR 2, FR 3, First Responder level 1, First Responder Level 2, First Responder Level 3, First Responder Level I, First Responder Level II, First Responder Level III?   I have heard of First Responder Level 3 with Spinal and AED endorsements.  What is the First Responder Provider Course, or the Canadian Red Cross First Responder Course?

It can be very confusing, can’t it?

The First Responder program in British Columbia started in 1989, to provide a basic level of professional medical care to pre-hospital care patients until the BC Ambulance Service paramedics arrived.

Initially this program provided 3 levels of First Responder.  First Responder Level 1 was a one day course, First Responder Level 2 was a two day course, and First Responder Level 3 was a four day course.  Two endorsements were later added:  a 16 hour Spinal Management endorsement, and a 4 hour AED endorsement.

Over the last few years there has been a movement to simply have one comprehensive level of First Responder care that combines all of these levels.  Certain training agencies have named this combined level First Responder Provider.

At Priority Care First Aid we offer the Canadian Red Cross First Responder Course.  This comprehensive course exceeds the content of the older British Columbia First Responder Level III (3) with Spinal and AED endorsements, and is the course that the vast majority of fire departments in British Columbia now use as their program of choice.  When you complete this course with Priority Care First Aid, which includes your practical provincial licensing exams, you will be more than ready to provide high quality First Responder care!

To learn more about this course click HERE.

And, to view upcoming course dates you can click HERE.

Occupational First Aid Level 3 versus First Responder

I am an Occupational First Aid Level 3 (OFA-3) ticket holder. What is the difference between the Red Cross First Responder course and the Occupational First Aid (OFA) courses?

The WorkSafe BC Occupational First Aid program was designed specifically to focus on the needs of injured workers. The vast majority of the course focuses on assessing and managing traumatic injuries in the workplace, and the training is tailored to that environment. An example of this is the delegation of tasks to others on the accident scene. Because a workplace typically only has one trained Occupational First Aid attendant students are taught that all people assisting on the call are untrained. This is a realistic assumption in the workplace, but one that impacts how the patient management occurs. The Occupational First Aid courses also do not include specific training on pediatric emergencies, because workers are usually adults.

The Red Cross First Responder course was designed to train professional responders working in a wide variety of environments, including working within the 911 system, to respond to emergencies of all natures.

Because of this the course focuses on a wide range of medical and traumatic emergencies, including pediatrics, childbirth, etc. First Responders are taught to work in teams to provide optimal care. The patient assessment model is flexible, to reflect the realities of calls that occur in ever changing environments.

To learn more about the First Responder program click HERE.

And, to view upcoming course dates you can click HERE.

Who teaches the Red Cross First Aid Instructor Courses?

I am interested in taking a Canadian Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED Instructor Course, and was wondering who the instructor would be?

Your Red Cross First Aid Instructor, First Aid Instructor Transfer, or First Aid Instructor Recertification course will be taught either by a Master Instructor Trainer, or an Instructor Trainer.

Instructor trainers are veteran Red Cross first aid instructors, who have taken additional training with the Red Cross to teach instructor schools (where they learned how to impart best practices for adult education). Master instructor trainers are very experienced ITs who act in a leadership role within the Canadian Red Cross First Aid program.

The Canadian Red Cross works on a third party delivery model, meaning that Training Providers certified by the Red Cross offer training on behalf of the Red Cross.    At Priority Care First Aid your instructor development course will be taught by a Master Instructor Trainer.

What can I do to be completely prepared for a Red Cross First Aid and CPR Instructor Course?

I am booked for an upcoming Canadian Red Cross First Aid & CPR/AED Instructor Course.  I want to be completely prepared.  Do you have any advice?

This is an excellent question.  Here are some of our thoughts:

1) Pick up your course materials as soon as you can.  The more time you have to familiarize yourself with these materials the better!

2) The Canadian Red Cross First Aid and CPR / AED Instructor course is about how to teach.  The focus is on adult education and the effective delivery of first aid courses.  There is an expectation that you will enter the instructor course with strong first aid and CPR skills.  All of the skills are clearly depicted in both of the student textbooks (the CPR/AED Manual and the First Aid & CPR Manual).  There are also key points in your instructor guide, as well as video based demonstrations on the multi media presentation.  Practice hard to ensure consistency with these materials.

3) As mentioned above, completely familiarize yourself with all of the content of the student and instructor resources you are provided.  Be clear on the Red Cross standards, as opposed to St. John Ambulance, The Lifesaving Society, the Canadian Ski Patrol, the Heart & Stroke Foundation, WorkSafe BC, etc.   Each organization does things a little bit differently and it is important to always teach Red Cross courses consistent with the Red Cross course materials.

4) Plan out your assigned teaching presentations before your instructor course.  You will probably end up modifying them based on things you learn in the instructor school, but getting the heavy lifting done before your instructor course will take a lot of the pressure off.

How much experience do you need to take a Red Cross First Aid Instructor Course?

How much experience do I need to become a first aid instructor?

The pre-requisites to become a new first aid instructor are to:

  • be at least 18 years of age
  • hold a valid Standard First Aid with CPR-HCP certificate

The Canadian Red Cross First Aid and CPR / AED instructor course will then give you the skills you will need to teach effectively.

There are several things you can do to strengthen your skills and knowledge though:

  • Take advanced first aid courses to strengthen your knowledge of first aid.  We highly recommend the Red Cross First Responder course as an excellent starting point.
  • We always recommend auditing or co-teaching with experienced Red Cross first aid instructors.
  • If you would like to further your understanding if adult education you should look into the Vancouver Community College School of Instruction.  Their website is www.instructordiploma.com

To learn more about the Red Cross First Aid Instructor Development Program click HERE.

And, to view upcoming course dates, you can click HERE.

Should I take the First Responder course for my firefighting application?

Should I take the First Responder course if I want to be a firefighter?

It is important to always consult the actual hiring practices of the department you are applying too, but as a general rule the answer is definitely yes.  Most fire departments in British columbia (ie The Vancouver Fire Department, The Burnaby Fire Department, The Coquitlam Fire Department, The New Westminster Fire Department, The Port Moody Fire Department, The Pitt Meadows Fire Department, The Maple Ridge Fire Department, The Langley Fire Department, The Surrey Fire Department, The White Rock Fire Department, The Richmond Fire Department, etc) practice at the First Responder level (which used to be called First Responder Level 3 with Spinal and AED endorsements).

Completing your Canadian Red Cross First Responder course with Priority Care First Aid, which also includes your Emergency Medical Assistant’s Licensing Board practical exams (the EMALB) qualifies you at the same level as firefighters currently working in BC!

To learn more about the First Responder program click HERE.

And, to view upcoming course dates you can click HERE.



“For the last 10 years Ian has taught courses for our SAR team in First Aid, Medical First Responder, ITLS, and many other medical topics.

Ian is a gifted teacher who brings his many years of experience as a paramedic into the classroom and who delivers content in a fun and very relatable way. Our members return from his courses with new found knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm, and a deep appreciation of their role in patient care.

On top of that, Ian has been extremely supportive of our team. First Aid is a key skill for all SAR members. We are lucky to have Ian. His training adds great value to our organization and to our community.”

Training Officer
Search and Rescue Team


“I want to commend you and your team of Instructors for the outstanding courses I attended at Priority Care First Aid. As a retired Paramedic returning to the practice of Paramedicine part time, coupled with being a volunteer firefighter and first responder, I attended both the First Responder and Emergency Medical Responder programs put on by Priority Care First Aid and I am completely satisfied with the training and hands on experience that I have received. Ian and his team bring decades of real life experience into the classroom, relating course content to real world emergency situations, which further aids in bridging course content to actual events where one may find themselves assisting the injured or ill. As a Deputy Chief of the local fire department in the Fraser Valley Regional District, I was so impressed with Ian and his group that I have arranged to have the fire department firefighters and first responders attend a First Responder program with Priority Care First Aid.

I highly recommend Ian and his team at Priority Care First Aid.”

Fire Department Deputy Chief
BCEHS Paramedic


“I have been a member of Search and Rescue for over 20 years, and have taken first aid courses since my teens. There is something special about learning and training with Priority Care First Aid.

Ian is effortlessly able to keep you engaged throughout the program with his charisma, stories and experience. Even with the most extreme scenarios we throw at him, his answers are clear, calm, and thoughtful… giving you confidence that you can respond correctly. This wisdom is then bolstered in the practical exercises securing your technical proficiency.

Ian creates a memorable and dynamic learning environment. You leave his skilled training knowing that when you are called upon to help someone you can deliver quality accurate care.”

SAR Team Member


“Ian attended our office in December, 2019.

Ian provided exceptional service to 6 of us who took his First Aid Instructor Course.
Ian’s personality, professionalism, limitless knowledge and teaching skills were at the forefront of a perfect week of learning.

Thank you Ian for your support before, during and after the course.”

RCMP Training Section


Upcoming Courses: