First aid training requirements for door supervisors and security guards

Written by Anna Bishop
Jul 28, 2021

Anna is a Training Product Manager at Red Cross Training responsible for the development and review of our training products.

With nearly 400,000 Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence holders in the UK, having confident and skilled door supervisors and security guards is an essential part of an organisation’s customer service.

Following a public consultation, the SIA has recently updated the first aid training requirements for security guards, including those applying to obtain a front-line licence, for door supervisor and security guard positions. Anna Bishop looks at the new requirements in more detail, including the first aid training required.

The importance of first aid in the security industry

In ordinary circumstances a security guard or door supervisor may be working in an environment with a lot of people, specifically in bars and nightclubs. Security personnel are often the first on the scene of minor and more serious incidents at any time of day or night. First aid training for security guards is essential for keeping people safe and is a huge part of the role with them needing to know how to treat injuries, falls or more serious accidents. First aid training can provide the skills and confidence needed to quickly deal with an accident or emergency.

What is the change?

The SIA is the regulator for the private security industry, and it is introducing compulsory first aid training, as a requirement for new SIA licence applicants. All new SIA license applicants will be required to hold an Emergency First Aid at Work qualification or equivalent, before becoming a licensed security professional. This also applies to those who are renewing their licence from 1 October 2021.

What are the new first aid training requirements?

Those applying for a close protection licence (e.g. bodyguard) have been required to hold a first aid certificate for some time, however, from 1 April 2021, anybody applying for a door supervisor or security guard licence (including non-public facing roles) will require an Emergency First Aid at Work qualification as a minimum before they can attend their license linked training course.

Existing first aid qualifications will still need to be valid for at least one year.

Who does the change apply to?

This change applies if you are applying for a licence for the first time or if it has been more than three years since you last held a front-line licence even if you are not public facing. It does not apply to public space surveillance (CCTV) or cash and valuable in transit license holders

Why are the qualifications changing?

Door supervisors and security guard licence applicants will need to provide proof of their first aid training. The private security industry is now increasingly recognised as playing an important part in protecting the public. These new requirements are being brought in to ensure all door supervisors and security guards have the necessary first aid skills and knowledge to perform their roles as effectively as possible, improving community safety and better protecting the public.

As security and door supervisor roles evolve, updated training requirements will ensure those working can:

  • keep the public safe
  • follow new working practices
  • understand recent changes to the law
  • make the best use of new technology.

There is a strong requirement for security guards and door supervisors to have knowledge of first aid, especially in emergency situations where they are likely to be closest to an incident. This brings with it an increasing level of scrutiny and demonstrates further why it is highly important for the industry to maintain and improve its standards.

A key element of the SIA’s role as industry regulator is to work with the industry to raise standards in private security.

How does this change coincide with the existing first aid at work legislation?

The SIA’s new first aid requirement does not change the existing responsibilities or liabilities of employers or operatives who need to continue to ensure a safe working environment. While first aid training will be compulsory for license holders, the requirement for them to respond in an emergency has not changed.

In addition to the new compulsory training, business owners must continue to ensure there is appropriate first aider provision on-site to comply with the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981. Employers are also required to provide adequate and appropriate equipment and facilities, so their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work. These regulations apply to all workplaces including those with less than five employees and to the self-employed.

How does this affect top-up training?

Anybody renewing their licence from 1 October 2021 will be required to choose either a door supervisor or security guard top-up training option. Some providers will offer a combined program that incorporates first aid, if this is not the case for your chosen provider you will need to find first aid training elsewhere before you can participate in the top up training.

What first aid qualifications are required?

The SIA have identified the emergency first aid at work course as a good fit for the industry. There needed to be a balance between the need for greater skills, the level of risk, and the cost to those who require the training.

The first aid training required should comply with the guidance from the Health and Safety Executive and as a minimum it must be an Emergency First Aid at Work qualification or equivalent. It should also be provided by a reputable organisation, such as British Red Cross Training.

This does not remove the requirement for employers to carry out a full first aid needs assessment and in some instances additional or more advanced training may be identified for specific environments.

What skills are featured on the Emergency First Aid at Work course?

The Emergency First Aid at Work course will provide door supervisors and security guards with the skills and confidence needed to respond to a range of accidents and first aid emergencies they could encounter, including helping an adult who is:

  • unresponsive and not breathing, including how to use of an automated external defibrillator (AED)
  • unresponsive and breathing
  • having a seizure
  • choking
  • bleeding heavily
  • suffering from shock
  • burnt.


First aid doesn’t have to be complicated

If you are applying for a door supervisor or security guard licence or are renewing your existing licence, British Red Cross Training offer a wide range of first aid and health and safety courses including an Emergency First Aid at Work course. 


How to select a first aid training provider

Health and Safety (first aid) regulations 1981 guidance is clear around the due diligence individuals and businesses should complete when finding a suitable first aid training provider. As the regulations can be a little daunting for many, we’ve produced a handy guide to help you.

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Topics: First Aid

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