The Engineering Trust

The Importance of First Aid Training

As a First Aid Trainer, I am always astonished by the number of people I get on my courses who are in later life and are undertaking a First Aid course for the first time.

First Aid is an important life skill that can be used at work, at home or anywhere they are required and can mean the difference between life and death. There has been an increasing drive for these vital skills to be taught to every single person in school, as we come to realise that the ability for people to know what to do if they have to deal with someone who has been hurt is an important life skill and ultimately can save a life!  

So why do we have First Aiders?

A First Aider is there to assist anyone who is either Injured or Ill and in a work environment, are a requirement under H&S at work regulations. It is all about the Employer looking after the welfare of their staff, especially in Engineering environments where the potential risk, due to the nature of the work, is far greater.

What does the job entail?

The role of the first aider is to provide care and give assistance to the casualty. Most of the time that means sticking on a plaster or bandage, sometimes it’s referring them to a doctor or waiting with them until the ambulance arrives. You might need to perform CPR but this is, thankfully, on only very rare occasions.

The job is known as the three P’s.
Preserve Life
Prevent Deterioration
Promote Recovery 

Just like the day job in Engineering, there is also paperwork to do, that literally takes a minute or two. If you have had to deal with a casualty, you will need to fill out an accident report detailing who was involved, what happened and what treatment we have given.

Is it worth volunteering?

Yes! Regardless of if you are an apprentice or someone who has been within the business for years, a day or two spent learning the basics can serve, not just you and your work colleagues, but your family, local community and the general public as well. It will also help to develop your interpersonal skills and most importantly, empower you to know what to do if you have to deal with someone who is hurt. The course is normally undertaken during working hours and the employer pays for it as it is a requirement for them to have qualified people within the business. Remember just as Engineering is a skill for life, so is First Aid plus some employers may even pay you a little more to be the appointed person! 

How long does the course take?

The qualification that your workplace will send you on will depend on the work you do, but “Emergency First Aid at Work” (EFAW) is a one-day course and First Aid at Work (FAW) is a three-day course.

How often do you have to requalify?

The qualification is valid for 3 years but a lot of work places are now doing a short refresher (1-2 Hours) each year, to keep First Aid techniques fresh in your memory.

Is it difficult?

No, the majority of First Aid is common sense with a few bits to remember. They help you with this by using sayings and mnemonics such as DRABC and AMPLE. The course is a nice mix of theory and practical and you are not expected to get things right on your first attempt. The instructor will give you feedback, you then try again until you get it right. Like anything else, the more courses you do and the more you use it, the easier it is to remember.

What does the course cover?

The course will cover things like scene surveys and casualty assessments, CPR which stands for Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation, use of an Automated External Defibrillator, plasters, bleeding, bandaging, slings, burns, shock, choking, breathing difficulties, recovery position, allergic reactions, seizures, heart attacks, stroke, muscle issues, broken bones, head injuries and diabetes. If you want to know about something specific you can ask your instructor and they will cover that as well. 

Volunteer to be a First Aider!

I encourage you to volunteer as a first aider and speak to your employer, school or college to find out if they plan on running any courses or putting people on a course. I’m passionate about training people in these vital life skills and have seen the benefit of trained people on many occasions. You get out of life what you put into it and in this case, you may also be part of saving a life too!

Written by Chris, ETT Training Officer