In the modern vernacular, it is the First Responder who will be on the scene, risking their own life to save those in danger. The term First Responder comes in part from First Aid, the practice of basic medicine in the field to stabilize an injured patient until they can be attended by a more qualified physician.
First Aid is almost synonymous with the Red Cross, which was originally formed in Geneva in 1863, after local villagers had been trained to lend medical assistance to wounded soldiers in the Battle of Solferino.
Many of the advances of Emergency Medicine have come as a result of warfare. The American Red Cross was organized after Clara Barton's experience during the American Civil War. Both the American and the International Red Cross have moved beyond their wartime missions to do all they can to render aid to anyone in peril.
Many of these heroes from the world of medicine are celebrated in The Cavalcade Of America anthology, sponsored by the DuPont Chemical Company. The stories include the Discovery of Penicillin, Johns Hopkins and Walter Reed, physicians on the frontier, Army nurses during the Invasion of the Philippines, and many others.
The heroism of America's Battle Field Physicians on the front lines is recreated in Doctor Fights. Fire Fighters is a syndicated series which tells the story of a former GI who comes home and tries to follow his father's footsteps as a fireman.
On the radio, there was no shortage of heroes in the Old West who were willing to put their lives on the line to save others. Doctor Sixgun knew that his services could require either his medical bag or the Peacemaker on his hip. Paladin, the hero of Have Gun, Will Travel, often found himself the first on the scene when trouble raised its head, and the prairie around Dodge city was a safer place because Marshall Matt Dillon was on duty in Gunsmoke.
NBC University Theater takes up some of the great First Responders from the world of literature. The Red Badge of Courage is the story of a young Civil War soldier who wants more than anything to prove his bravery. Arrowsmith tells the story of a brilliant young doctor who rises above his modest origins, and Farewell To Arms is Hemingway's story of an ambulance driver during the Italian campaign of WWI.