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Ever considered taking a first aid course? Here's why it matters, what it entails and how knowing first aid could end up saving someone's life. 
Did you ever get your first aid badge in Scouts or Guides? 
 
Maybe you’ve done a bit of training on a Duke of Edinburgh award, NCS programme or some other extra-curricular activity? 
 
The fact is there are loads of ways you can be introduced to first aid and no matter where you work or what you do in your spare time, it can be a valuable skill to have. 
 
However, even though these are a good foundation, if you want to be officially recognised as a qualified first aider, you’ll need up-to-date training. 
 
And it’s more than just a ‘nice to have’ for those that do it. Administering first aid can sometimes be the difference between someone living and dying. 

Time Is Of The Essence 

On Saturday 12th June 2021, Denmark were half way through their opening Euro 2020 match against Finland when Danish footballer Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch. 
 
He’d had a cardiac arrest and if it weren’t for the use of first aid and defibrillators by teammate Simon Kjaer and the medical staff who rushed onto the pitch, he may not have recovered. Fortunately, as a result of their quick response, he did. 
 
First aid is vital because accidents and medical incidents can happen at any time and any place. 
 
For particularly severe incidents such as a cardiac arrest or injuries leading to blood loss, the longer the casualty is left untreated the greater the chance of death. 
 
First aid is there to stabilise the person’s condition in the time it takes medical professionals to get to the scene or provide remote assistance. 
 
Even in less severe cases where the casualty is able to get help themselves, first aid acts as an immediate measure to ensure the incident doesn’t become life threatening. 
 
It’s also about having someone who knows exactly what to do in an emergency situation and is not going to panic, making sure the casualty is as safe as possible. 
Chart showing mental health increase
The Denmark Players waiting as Christian Eriksen is seen to on the pitch. Source: NY Times // Friedemann Vogel 

Should I Know How To Do First Aid? 

The question you’re probably asking is ‘does it need to be me?’ ‘Should I be booking myself on to a course tomorrow?’ 
 
Well, although it is hugely valuable, it may be that you don’t need to get first aid trained. It’s obviously going to take some time and money and your company may already have the recommended number of first aiders in its ranks. 
 
According to UK Health and Safety regulations, workplaces should have at least one person who is first aid trained per 50 employees and ideally a couple more. 
 
There are also certain jobs and workplaces where it’s mandatory for every member of staff or a significant number of staff to be first aid trained. These include police officers, medical staff, teachers, cabin crew and flight attendants, prison staff and lifeguards. 
 
If you work in or manage a warehouse, factory, construction site or other higher hazard environment there is more of a requirement for there to be sufficient first aid support. 
 
All that said, regardless of your role or workplace, there is nothing stopping you taking a first aid course. 
 
No place of work or activity outside of work is going to be worse off having another first aider to hand. It’s an invaluable skill to have and it may be that you just want to be better informed in case you ever find yourself in a situation where help is needed. 

What Does First Aid Entail? 

Obviously, we’re not going to cover the contents of an entire first aid course in this post but here’s the basic components of first aid. 
 
The standard FAW (First Aid At Work) course will instruct you on first responses which should include the following: 
 
Checking you and the casualty aren’t in any danger and if so, making the situation as safe as possible. 
Calling 999 or 112 or instructing someone else to do so, if you need an ambulance or medical help. 
Depending on the state of the casualty - are they breathing/not breathing? - put them into the recovery position or perform CPR. 
 
CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) is a way of attempting to restart someone’s heart and breathing and is an essential part of first aid so you’ll definitely learn how to do this. 
 
Depending on the level of training you’re receiving, you may also look at first aid treatments for specific injuries and illnesses. 
 
Injuries that you may need to treat with first aid include severe allergic reactions, shock, burns, bleeding, choking, drowning, lacerations, cardiac arrest (heart attack), a stroke and more. 
 
Many of these things can get more and more life threatening the longer they are left untreated so it’s essential the casualty receives first aid. 
First aid could be needed at any time and any place. 

Can I Do First Aid Training Online? 

Unfortunately, despite the potential inconvenience, if you want to be recognised by HSE as a fully trained first aider, you can’t just do your training online. 
 
Whilst you can certainly learn much of the necessary information online, if you want to be qualified you have to undergo practical teaching and assessment. 
 
Which of course makes sense. If you ever need to put those skills into action (which hopefully you won’t!) it will no longer be theoretical but very real. 
 
If you come across a course online that claims to provide you with an official qualification in first aid, it is almost certainly not legally recognised as such. 
 
They’re not completely useless and will offer you an awareness of first aid but in order to comply with regulations and get the best training you can get, it’s essential you go on a course that has in person instruction. 
 
Many courses now have parts that you can do online alongside the practical bits. This blended or E-learning model is becoming increasingly popular. 

What First Aid Course Do I Need? 

As we mentioned above there are typically two types of first aid training you can undergo. Which one you do will depend on the kind of place you work. 
 
If you are wanting to undertake first aid training you can do either the EFAW or FAW course. 
 
The shorter EFAW course takes a total of 6 hours over a minimum of one day. This gives you what you need to perform emergency first aid to someone who is ill or injured at work. 
 
The more in-depth FAW course takes 18 hours over a minimum of 3 days. This does everything the EFAW course does but also includes info on how to apply first aid to specific injuries and illnesses. 
Happy playing tennis
First Aid training course in action 

Find A Provider And Be A Lifesaver 

There are many providers that offer first aid training courses. As long as you’ve checked the course is suitable for your workplace or hobby and they have at least a blended learning model, you should be ok. 
 
Fortunately, we’re able to point you in the direction of training as well. If you’re interested, get in touch and we’ll get something sorted. 
 
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