Checklist for Organisers


Event Organizers Guidelines for Medical/Paramedical/ First Aid Cover


Know the requirements

-  All the disciplines will/should have guidelines for minimal medical requirements, from four star eventing to pony club. If formal guidelines are not available seek advice from the sportʼs governing body, the HSE (Health and Safely Executive) and your insurers.
-  Understand the requirements and be aware that if they are not fulfilled it is likely that your eventʼs insurance will be void.
-  You will need to provide cover for both competitors and spectators.
-  Be aware that minimum requirements are exactly that - you may be much better off with a higher level of cover
-  Be aware of the need for adequate cover for the size of crowd expected. A crowd of over 2,000 will need a crowd doctor in attendance in addition to the provision of first aid cover.
-  Ensure an adequate Risk Assessment is undertaken and recorded.
-  If a large crowd is expected it may be necessary to have separate medical/first aid cover for the crowd and competitors.


Plan in advance

-  Chose the appropriate level of cover and contact emergency care providers and/or the local voluntary organizations (Red Cross/St John) to see whether they can fulfill those requirements. Obtain quotes and get references/local recommendations where possible.  Ensure that cost is not the only factor in choosing your provider.
-  All organizations need plenty of time to arrange staff, equipment and vehicle availability
-  Obtain a written agreement from the provider that they will provide the requested number of appropriately trained personnel, with the correct equipment to be able to carry out their duties.
-  Explain to the provider the nature of the event, likely numbers of competitors and spectators, level of risk, anticipated injuries. This will significantly help the providers to prepare appropriately.
-  Ensure emergency personnel have appropriate training and registration (see box)
-  Advise the emergency care providers of start and finish times, and request they attend well in advance of the first competitor starting to allow time to assess the site, place vehicles, sort out communications.


Contingency Planning

-  Ensure all parts of the showground/course can be reached by ambulance. Wet ground and crowds can make this much more difficult or impossible. If impossible if may be necessary to stop the event.
-  Ensure adequate communications between medical personnel and between organizers and medical personnel. This is vital; adequate communications are a must.
-  Plan for a significant injury. Who will respond? Who will take control of safety of crowd and injured person? Will the injured person be taken to hospital by the eventʼs emergency care provider? If so, the event may no longer have adequate cover - should it be stopped?
-  How will emergency vehicles/air ambulance access the site, especially when event under way.


On the day

-  Ensure all key staff are present and ready. If not, is it safe/appropriate for the event to start?
-  Briefing of all those involved in stewarding/safety/first aid. Make introductions so personnel aware of who is who, and who will respond to what.
-  A programme for the day is helpful, with any break times, and finish times, and ensure adequate refreshments
-  Ensure communications work and check they continue to do so throughout the day
-  At the end of the day, stand the team down, a debrief is very useful to identify any problems which can then be rectified for future events.
-  Send any accident report forms to the relevant bodies, keeping a copy for records


Key Points

-  Are those employed to provide medical/paramedical/first aid appropriately trained and equipped to deal with foreseeable injuries and incidents?
-  Are they trained and competent to manage an unconscious person with potential spinal injuries who may not be breathing? This is particularly relevant to first aiders, and doctors and nurses acting outside their usual area of work.
-  Is their sole responsibility to look after competitors/crowd?
-  Ask to see evidence of registration/qualifications



Medical Officer/Doctor

-  The appointed doctor must be registered with the General Medical Council and have appropriate medical indemnity, covering them to work outside their usual practice. It may be required or recommended that doctors have been trained in pre-hospital emergency care, holding in-date qualifications such as PHTLS (Pre Hospital Trauma Life Support), ATLS (Advanced Trauma Life Support) or BASICS (British Association of Immediate Care)
-  Crowd doctors are qualified and experienced in pre-hospital immediate care. Recommended training is the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Course and the Major Incident Medical Management and Support course or equivalent relevant experience.


 - All paramedics, whether private sector, NHS or voluntary have to be registered with a government regulator (the Health Professions Council). They must be in regular active service as a paramedic. This ensures a standard of training and expertise in the prehospital management of sick and injured people. It is illegal for those without the appropriate training and current registration to call themselves paramedics. Check the registration of a paramedic by going to and searching using the paramedic name or registration number. If the eventʼs requirements are for a paramedic, then the appointed person must be on this register.

Emergency Medical Technician

-  The UK has no legal definition of an emergency medical technician or ambulance technician. There is no legal requirement to have any particular qualification, or indeed any qualification at all. The most widely recognized qualification for a technician is the Institute of Healthcare Development (IHCD) ambulance technician qualification, which has been used by every NHS ambulance service.

-  There is a move away from the IHCD award, with ambulance services employing university qualified paramedics and lower qualified Emergency Care Assistants, ECAʼs,(based on first aid at work with emergency driving and basic ambulance skills) or Emergency Care Support Workers (ECSWʼs) with some additional skills to ECAʼs. It should be remembered that EMTʼs, ECAʼs and ECSWʼs role is to provide support to qualified professionals and to provide basic life support to first aider standards. Their training is not aimed at assessing and treating patients independently.

Trained First Aider

Trained first aiders may have attended a 3-4day first aid at work course, or a one day emergency first aid at work course. St John Ambulance and the Red Cross run courses for their volunteers covering events, with ongoing updates and training. Trained first aiders will be trained in Basic Life Support but will not be equipped to assess and manage significant traumatic injuries without professional help/back up immediately available.


Useful contacts and information



Department of Culture, Media and Sport Safety at Sports Grounds - Chapter 18

Health Professions Council

The Red Cross

St John Ambulance

British Eventing

The Pony Club

British Show Jumping

British Dressage

British Riding Clubs

 Download .pdf


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