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St John First Responder App - Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What does the St John First Responder App do?

A: The St John First Responder App has a range of features, one being its unique first responder capability. The app allows qualified first aiders to sign up as a first responder and be notified when someone has called 000 for an ambulance within 500 metres of their current location and in a public place.

The app also contains a directory of defibrillator locations, comprehensive first aid guides and a “call 000” feature that automatically sends your exact GPS coordinates to the St John Ambulance State Operations Centre when calling from within the state of Western Australia.

Q: How does it work?

A: Users of the app will receive a notification if they and their phone are within 500m of the incident location. They can then choose to “accept” the call and then proceed to the route with the mapping info as provided via the app.

Q: What are the qualifications for being a First Responder in the App?

A: You need to have completed as a minimum an HLTAID009 Provide Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation course (or equivalent) with a registered training organisation within the past 3 years. As well as a first aid course qualification, we also accept current registration certificates from medical professionals including doctors, nurses and GPs. We now offer the ability to become a BASIC level first responder in the app, by uploading your Photo ID.

Q: Are there legal concerns for people delivering first aid at the scene of an accident or medical emergency?

A: No. State legislation prevents people incurring any personal civil liability for their actions in providing first aid.  The Civil Liability Act 2002 states:

“A good samaritan does not incur any personal civil liability in respect of an act or omission done or made by the good samaritan at the scene of an emergency in good faith and without recklessness in assisting a person in apparent need of emergency assistance.”

Q: Why does the "First Responder Status is ON" notification always get shown on my phone whenever my FR status is turned ON?

A: The notification you are seeing is called a 'foreground notification' and is part of the improved reliability of the first responder notifications, which was released as part of the First Responder Android app v1.8.8 (released December 10 2018). Showing this notification ensures that the app does not get prematurely closed by the Android operating system, which would prevent the app from accessing WiFi/4G/GPS when a new incident notification is received.

Q: Why were my St John WA First Aid Course qualifications not recognised?

A: For courses undertaken with St John WA, the app can automatically recognise your qualifications, provided that they meet the requirement as noted above (“What are the qualifications for being a First Responder in the App?”). You’ll just need to ensure you login to the app with the same account you used to take your St John WA First Aid Course.

Q: I’ve logged in with the wrong account. How do I now login with a different account?

A: There is no logout button in the App - please follow these steps:

  • Uninstall the app from your phone.
  • Install the app again.
  • Press the LOGIN link, and login using your correct username and password.

Q: How do I setup the Background App Refresh properly on my iPhone? it is disabled and cannot be selected

A: The Background App Refresh (BAR) setting on iPhone appears in two different places under your iPhone Settings

There is a ‘global’ BAR setting that applies to all apps

  • Go to Settings
  • General
  • Midway down the list, see Background App Refresh
  • Ensure this is turned ON and also that it is turned ON for the First Responder App

There is a ‘per-app’ BAR setting that applies to each app

  • Go to Settings
  • Scroll down to First Responder App
  • Ensure it is turned ON

After you’ve done the above, when you run the First Responder App now your FR status should show as ON and there should be a green bar across the top of the screen.

Q: I was near to an incident but it didn’t come through to my phone - are the incident notifications working?

A: The reason that you didn’t receive the incident near you would most likely have been due to the incident filter that’s in place …

  • Incident must be a specific type of incident – e.g. Unconscious, Cardiac Arrest, Fallen.
  • Incident must be in a public area (i.e. not a private residential address).

Due to this filter, incidents sent to the app are rare, and there are currently only around 5 to 10 incidents per day state-wide being sent to users of the app. This is a common concern with new users of the app, but please ensure you do continue running the app on your phone - in the future you will be called on to help when an incident matching the criteria happens near you.

Q: Why is the incident limit only 500m? it should be much larger than this for country locations

A: St John needs to consider the impact of members of the public using motor vehicles to attend to a person in need of first aid when the patient is further away than a reasonable walking distance. Activating a first responder more than 500m away from the patient may encourage the use of a motor vehicle and thus introduce risks to other road users, pedestrians and the responder considering that the training of the driver is unknown as well as the appropriateness of the vehicle being used.  For this reason the App will only notify a responder of a first aid incident when the responder is within a reasonable walking distance of 500m from the patient.

Q: What happens when I get a new phone – can I login with my existing account?

A: Yes, when you get a new phone, you can simply login with your existing username and password on your new phone. Your old phone will be automatically logged out of the app. You can only be logged into one device at a time.

Q: I carry a mobile defibrillator (AED) with me – how can I register this with the app?

A: If you carry a defibrillator with you, there is no requirement to register its location (which is mobile and is not static). Whenever there is a suitable CPR incident within 500m from your location, you will be notified in the app, and you will be able to help the patient with the aid of your defibrillator.

Q: Why does the app ask me to enter my phone number in settings?

A: If you make a call to 000 for an ambulance from within the app, the phone number you've entered into the app is used to match your location with the voice telephone call we receive via Telstra. This will ensure we know exactly where you are if you ever need to call for an ambulance.

Q: What happens if the person in need no longer needs an ambulance and I have already accepted the incident?

A: In the event that the St John operations centre determines that the ambulance is no longer required, the app will notify all users that have accepted the incident that the incident is closed.

Q: What Australian States does the app work in?

A: The First Responder App is designed for use in Western Australia. App features such as Nearby Defibrillators, Nearby Medical Centres and First Responder Incidents are only supported for Western Australian locations. The First Aid Guides are applicable to all locations.

Q: What Volume controls does the app use on Android for the new incident notification siren sound?

A: Upon receiving a new first responder incident, a siren sound will play on your phone to get your attention. To ensure that you hear it ok, check that both the Media volume and the Notification volume are set to an appropriate level. The Media volume is used when the siren plays while the app is running in the foreground. The Notification volume is used when the siren plays while the app is not running, such as when you are running a different app, or when the screen is locked or turned off.


Q: I cannot download the St John First Responder App because my home location app store is outside of Australia (e.g. NZ, US, Canada, UK, etc.). How can I download the First Responder app?

A: You need to access the Australian App Store / Play Store to download the St John First Responder App. If you are in Australia for an extended period, you can change your app store’s home location. Doing this will give you access to the app.

  • Apple App Store – changing your Apple ID country:
  • Google Play Store – changing your Google Play country:

Q: Can I still use the First Responder App when I have no mobile coverage and no Internet access and am located in a remote area?

A: With the app, there are a number of features that do not require live internet access to be able to still use.

The first time you run the app, you will need an Internet connection however, and it is recommended that you then display all screens of the app, including Defibrillators Nearby, Medical Centres Nearby and First Aid Toolbox. At this point, the app will fetch updates for all the information and store that information on your device.

If you are later in a remote area without Internet access, you will still be able to use these features:
- First Aid Toolbox
- Medical Centres Nearby
- Defibrillators Nearby
Because these features display the information which is stored on your device, they do not require Internet access. Note: that the information they display may not be the latest information, which gets fetched every time you access the screen while connected to the Internet. This primarily affects new defibrillator locations, which are being added on a daily basis. Medical centres & First aid guides change rarely.

The features which require mobile coverage and Internet access are:

  • Dial 000 (needs mobile coverage from at least one network operator)
  • Dial 000 automatic GPS locator (needs Internet)
  • First Responder (needs Internet)
  • Your courses, offers & tips, feedback (needs Internet)

Q: I need my first aid certificate to become a first responder, but I have not received it yet after completing a course. What do I do?

A: First aid course attendees are emailed their certificate in PDF format after the completion of their course. If you have not received your certificate, there may be a few reasons behind this.

  • You have not provided us with your USI number
  • You have not completed your online pre-learning

If either of these apply to you, please get in contact with our customer service team on (08) 9334 1233 for further assistance. 

Q: My current location is showing as incorrect on the app, is this an error?

A: Your location may not be correct for a couple of reasons. On some occasions when indoors, a phone’s GPS can’t get an accurate fix from the satellites. Ensure that your WiFi settings are turned ON. When you’re on WiFi, Apple and Google use nearby WiFi hotspots metadata, combined with 4G, to give you a more accurate ‘indoor’ location. If you are still experiencing issues with your location, please get in touch with our friendly team at

Q: What happens if I call 000 in a remote area with limited mobile coverage?


A: When you call 000 using the app, the app just places a normal emergency call using your phone dialler. Being the emergency number, 000 has some special behaviour in that if you are outside of coverage of your own network (e.g. Optus or Vodafone) it will automatically use any available network operator to place the call (e.g. Telstra). So yes, you will still need to be in the mobile coverage area of at least one mobile network operator to be able to make a 000 call.

In terms of the GPS locator, this feature of our app automatically sends your GPS location to the St John WA 000 call centre when you place the 000 call via the app. This GPS locator feature itself requires mobile data or WiFi (Internet) to be able to work. However the app also displays onscreen your GPS location LATI/LONG when you make the call, so you can always read off your GPS location to the call taker, in case you did not have Internet.

Further details about 000 here: 


St John First Responder App Updates on Mobile