In 2010 the U.S. government restructured the national standards ratings for emergency response. The term "emergency medical responder" now refers to a volunteer who has received the highest level of emergency medical training. Once upon a time such people were called "first responders," but that term is now used as the general title for the first person or agency to show up at an emergency [source: Colorado First Aid].
According to this definition, emergency medical responders should not be confused with emergency medical technicians, who represent a more advanced degree of training on the road to becoming full-fledged paramedics. Emergency medical responders are often people who belong to a non-medical profession but are typically among the first people at the scene of an emergency.
Firefighters and members of a police force, for instance, often take training courses to become emergency medical responders. These training courses provide the basic skills necessary for helping victims of trauma. Acquiring these techniques is valuable not only to professional first responders but also to teachers, wilderness instructors, divers, fishermen, lumberjacks, pilots and flight attendants to name just a few.
A typical training course from the American Red Cross might take about 50 hours, during which trainees learn non-invasive procedures like how to assess patients, take their vital signs, manage their airways, perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), deploy an automated external defibrillator (AED) and supply emergency oxygen. You have to be at least 16 to take and pass the course requirements, and the course itself might cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $400 [source: Center for Wilderness Safety].