What To Know When Looking For A First Aid Course
Posted on 8th September 2021
Finding the right training provider and the right first aid training can be a real nightmare. In this article, we clear the noise and provide you the information you need to make the right decision for you.
We cover (click the sentence to go straight there):
Right lets get straight to it!
What constitutes a 'real' first aid course? Great question!
There are first aid courses out there which don't contain a practical element, these are often called 'First Aid Awareness' courses and are often considered 'fake' first aid courses. This is because the HSE (Health & Safety Executive - the department for health & safety in the UK) state a first aid course must contain the practical element of preforming CPR on a manikin whilst kneeing on the floor. First Aid Awareness courses also no not hold the same qualification as Emergency First Aid or First Aid at Work qualifications. This means you cannot use a First Aid Awareness course for work purposes.
'Real' first aid courses also have to contain enough information to last a certain amount of hours, or have to be carried out over a certain number of days. For example, Emergency First Aid courses are required to have 6 hours worth of material to cover to be considered comprehensive enough to constitute as a first aid course. In regards to a First Aid at Work course is required to be over a three day period and have 18 hours worth of teaching materials. For first aid at work re-qualification training, this is a two day course covering 12 hours worth of material.
As you may have already guessed, anyone training you should also hold a in-date first aid instructor qualification and have completed the first aid course they are teaching. First aid qualification currently last 3 years.
Sometimes we are asked if doctors and nurses can teach first aid. The answer is yes, yes they can. However, they should still have the first aid instructor qualification which is in-date and still registered with their doctor or nurse governing body (GMC for doctors or the NMC for nurses).
Which course applies to which type of job?
This is often an area of confusion with multiple courses offered, especially if you're working with children.
We can reduce the options right down to normally just two different courses; Emergency First Aid and First Aid at Work. For the majority of people, a 1-day Emergency First Aid course is more than sufficient for their workplace. It covers, as the name suggests, what to do in an emergency including: CPR, using a defib, managing choking, burns, fractures and bleeding. It also covers head, neck and back injuries too.
The HSE have suggested that people working in low risk areas such as shops, offices, call centres, charities, fitness instructors and cafes etc complete this training rather than the First Aid at Work course.
The 3-day First Aid at Work course is more for risk areas such as mines, factories and certain warehouses. However, there are many companies who will training their staff to ensure they have comprehensive knowledge, whether they work in a restaurant, office or school.
If you are supporting or working with children, there are 1-day Emergency Paediatric First Aid courses which will also include anaphylaxis & asthma which the Emergency First Aid course doesn't cover. This is because adults tend to know and therefore avoid substances which they are allergic to. For schools, often this one day course is enough.
For nannies, foster carers, nursery staff, primary school staff and parents, often the 2-day Paediatric First Aid course is more suited as it covers more incidents and injuries; better preparing you for the future.
There are some specialised courses, for example for outdoor activities which include potential incidents such as crushing injuries.
What happens if your certificate runs out?
If you let your certificate expire, you'll need to retake the full course again. This isn't so bad if its the 1-day course, however if its the 3-day First Aid at Work course, it might be more difficult for you to find the time; refreshing only takes 2-day and so if easier to manage with other work or personal pressures.
If you discover your certificate has expired, it does mean that you are no longer able to be a first aider at your workplace until you renew it. Please do inform your employer and ensure your name is removed from any first aider register.
Can you do online first aid courses?
You can do online elements, however, as stated earlier you will need to undertake the practical assessment on a manikin in order to pass any Emergency First Aid or First Aid at Work course; regardless of the provider. Some companies may teach all the theory online but will request you to come into a venue to carry out the final practical element; this is okay and will still constitute as a 'real' first aid course.
Which provider I should chose?
There are a lot of provider out there aren't there! (including us!)
From St John's Ambulance to Red Cross to SkillBase First Aid, each provider will be required to maintain the specific standards detailed above (amount of time and days required per course). There is one benefit of plenty of providers, it allows you to shop around and find the right fit for you. Its also good to know that each provider will no doubt detail whats covered in their courses so you can compare them and see if there's any added bonuses for you.
It's also worth knowing that certain companies may use certain trainers, for example we use registered nurses to teach our first aid courses. Other companies may only use people with real hands on experience or only doctors, whereas others may use anyone and everyone as trainers. Different companies will also use different formats, some only face to face teaching, some all online except for the practical element etc. Different companies also use different manikins and resources. We only use advanced technology manikins, some companies will use foam manikins while others may use full adult sized manikins with arms and legs.
Ultimately, if you follow the information given in this article, you'll be able to select a suitable course for you. You'll also know what to look for to help you find the right provider for you too.
We hope this article helps you find what you need.
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