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Thanks for the Input On First-aid

p1560479I was surprised to get the feed back I got on this issue. It shows that there are many of the same mind who are concerned about the lack of available help. My thought was to take some of the basics and do half an hour a day or a week at work and pass on what has stayed with me for the past thirty years. Which is more important, to be qualified  by a certificate or be able to help someone in the immediacy of a situation? The problem with training all staff for certification, especially for a small company, is the cost of the courses and the downtime from income-producing work to cover costs. My thinking is that most first-aid courses are knowledge based and are available for free online. I am sure that there is a way to equip any and all with most of the basics for dealing with emergencies. I’m surrounded by people in their own workshops and businesses who have no training and are a long way from any emergency services. I think something needs a nudge in the right direction don’t you?


  1. James Davis on 3 October 2016 at 9:46 am

    A good trainer will have you practicing scenarios (that hopefully you’ll never face!) under pressure that you won’t experience whilst reading material online. Some of the best first aid courses I’ve done have been run by A&E doctors or paramedics who have had to face this first hand and can draw upon their own experiences.

    Of course most first aid incidents aren’t anywhere near that serious, and you can hesitate and make-do, but there are rare situations where you can’t afford to hesitate – chainsaw induced arterial bleeding might be one.

    Practicing CPR regularly is also good to help drill it and make it automatic, as well as ensure that you’re following the latest practices and giving the patient the best chance they have (bystanders have a better success rate at CPR than ambulance crew!).

  2. Chris B on 3 October 2016 at 10:45 am

    A good initiative Paul.
    No certificate makes a person a master craftsman as you well know whatever the field.
    Its practise and experience that produces the skilled individual.
    I think its funny that Medical Practitioners are “In practise” and their customers have to be “Patients”. Maybe that tells the story?
    Nothing beats a good dose of common sense and what I was told the engineers first tools (same applies for woodworkers) Your eyes, your ears, your nose, your mind, your mouth in that order …Got me out of many trouble and difficulties in life!

  3. Tomos on 3 October 2016 at 1:07 pm

    Everybody should know basic first aid and CPR. I’m of the opinion that at the end of the day, if something was to happen to you, you’d expect somebody to help you. And if you expect somebody to help you then you should be willing to help somebody if the table was turned.

    I was lucky to get a First Aid Certificate (valid for 3 years) through my workplace this summer (I worked alone every day and there was a chance I’d be the first one called upon if help was needed).

    One thing that my boss suggested to us at the end of the day was to use our phones and download a First Aid Application. Since then I’ve had the St John Ambulance First Aid app (no affiliation) installed on my phone. It’s free of charge and will walk you through what to do in most situations (sometimes with audio). For example:

    – Hygiene warning
    – Severe bleed
    – Minor bleed

    – Assessing the situation
    – Adult CPR
    – Child CPR
    – Infant CPR

    It’s good to know I’m certified, but it’s also comforting to know that I have a dependable source of help within an arms reach of me the majority of the time.

  4. Blaz on 3 October 2016 at 2:38 pm

    Things are tried to be shown as complex which I tend to think is not. There are in my opinion only two things that are really important. And that is how I see it:

    – if the person doesn’t breathe you need to reanimate him somehow (you have to know how)
    – if the person bleeds you need to do something to stop it. (press or bandage)

    Everything after that is usually handled by the trained personnel which you call.
    But the most important of all is that you actively try to help, do something and not be overwhelmed. Act!

    Most of the time people are just overwhelmed with the situation, waiting for somebody else or something.

    • Derek Long on 3 October 2016 at 4:47 pm

      “Most of the time people are just overwhelmed with the situation, waiting for somebody else or something.”

      This is very true. I once saw a man fall over with a grand mal seizure right on the sidewalk in front of the car entrance to an auto shop, on a busy city street. People walked right past the guy and the mechanics in the garage entrance were just standing there laughing at the guy for falling over, like it was a joke. I stopped to render assistance, while another lady who came by got on her cell phone and called 911 while the dealership people stood there and watched through the glass (with a phone right at their elbow.)

      The vast majority of people won’t know what to do, or won’t be bothered, in an emergency. Be prepared to help yourself and others, because you can’t count on others to be prepared.

  5. Jimmy Brown on 3 October 2016 at 9:57 pm

    Paul, I am an ex-paramedic and during my career I stayed current on Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and CPR. I was also an instructor for these courses. While you may get more from an instructor than an online course, unless you work in the medical field, less than 3 percent of the students will ever use the skills learned. I did not continue with my certifications after retirement. I was rather disillusioned with the process of teaching the last few years, it had turned into a huge money maker for the companies teaching. Imagine if you taught a class on how to sharpen planes and chisels and I paid for it. i would now know how to do that process, and even if I never sharpened again I would still have those skills. But you are a business man, so you put in a requirement that I must re-certify as a plane and chisel sharpener every two years. You make more money even though nothing about the knowledge has changed. I am not knocking training for CPR or First Aid, sure, pay the instructor for his time and effort the first time, learn it and become qualified. After that, a free online refresher course would be perfect for most people not in the medical field. Something should change but I fear it never will. The mandated four hours of instruction (if it is still that) is also wrong. If I have a class of 10 or fewer they could be properly instructed in half that time. The burden on small businesses is indeed heavy, it is a lucrative business, believe me, many of my retired friends make quite a good living at it now. Glad you got your certification anyway and I wish you continued success in all your endeavors.

    • Paul Sellers on 4 October 2016 at 8:47 am

      I think that we all know this is happening but of course when we rely on a vote alone we become disempowered to make change because government becomes the nations voice and not individual responsibility. When we start saying “What are they doing about it?” we’ve already lost because then it’s ‘they‘ and ‘us‘.

  6. chris statham on 3 October 2016 at 9:59 pm

    Hi Paul,
    I’m actually kind of surprised/shocked with your comment:

    “Which is more important, to be qualified by a certificate or be able to help someone in the immediacy of a situation? The problem with training all staff for certification, especially for a small company, is the cost of the courses and the downtime from income-producing work to cover costs. ”

    Being that I live and work in Alberta Canada, maybe rules here are just more strict than in the UK, but all companies here (especially ones that have staff using machines/power tools or that are linked to industries) are required to have at least a certain percentage of their staff trained in CPR/first aid. The cost of occupational health and safety fining your company due to negligence far outweighs the cost of the training. Most major companies here will not even accept your offer of services if you cannot provide proof you have an effective health and safety program, without major incidents.

    You always have the ability to provide the red cross training manual to your staff to go through on their spare time if they so choose. These are skills that are advantageous to have in and outside of the workplace, and cost nothing other than their time.

    • Paul Sellers on 4 October 2016 at 8:44 am

      It’s not different here. Perhaps even more strict. If a bandage is out of date in a first aid box you are fined £100 per item and you have to pay the health and safety executive £150 per hour for their visit if faults are found. Same if stocks are depleted.

  7. Ady.b. on 4 October 2016 at 12:53 am

    Hi Paul, in the U.K. Employers are required to have a percentage of employees trained in first aid much like what Chris is saying about Canada I know this because I’ve done the course myself a few times which I really enjoyed doing but I’ve also had to try help people that have had accidents in the work place and it’s a bit different in reality ?.
    Anyway love all you do for all these lucky people around the world should be sir Paul.

    • Paul Sellers on 4 October 2016 at 8:32 am

      My view on this may go against the grain but when first aid has to be legislated something is usually wrong with the employers first and then the employees because we don’t accept individual responsibility for situations we can be non-legally obligated to help in. I’ve been in situations, not necessarily medical, where I felt disempowered to help in. It’s as if a plate glass wall is between you and the circumstance and you just can’t get to it. That is how people feel before they take a first aid course. What do you do? How can you help? These things run through your mind. In the circumstance I am talking of I could do absolutely nothing but with first aid and a choking child there is something I can do without playing God. The fact is you and every one of us can do as much as the medical profession (if the med operatives don’t have their support equipment and fellow workers I mean) when we are in a crowded restaurant and someone chokes, we just need the humility and the confidence that brings to take charge and administer first aid.

      • Ady.b. on 4 October 2016 at 8:28 pm

        Actually I did save my mum from choking to death from the methods learned on a first aid course so I’m very grateful for that, there should be more done to encourage people to take these courses great subject Paul it’s gets people thinking.

    • Paul Sellers on 4 October 2016 at 8:42 am

      I think the answer might be more for employers to be obligated to provide first aid instruction for all employees with periodic updates. The employees that want to do the course can attend the workshop training. With the best will in the world governments always legislate to cover issues but when law alone controls the effort inevitably you end up over-legislating to make it work. Compel employers to send some percentage on courses and you feed into the economy. I’d rather have caring volunteers than certificated obligated people take care of me.

  8. Peter on 4 October 2016 at 11:55 am

    Just thought I’d slip in a side note on the medical topic.
    When a motto cyclist has an accident and is wearing a full face helmet.
    It’s the logical first impulse, to remove the helmet, to have better visual option on the person situation.
    The reality is that well meaning people attempting to aid, have occasionally, indirectly caused a spinal injury. By removing the helmet.
    I am just aware of a few of these accidents happen.
    I offer no answers, as I am not a professional, medically trained person.
    Just thought this Delamere, should be advertised.
    Cheers Peter

  9. Mike Bronosky on 4 October 2016 at 1:54 pm

    I can thing of two caveats to this, one government and the other insurance companies.
    You have two businesses.
    One takes care of their employees and their families. One way to do this is through first aid medical training. The warm and fuzzy thing.
    The other, to be more competitive, doesn’t spend the money on the training so they can undercut their competitors and make bigger profits that go to owners and higher management.
    This is where the government and/or business insurance companies could step in.
    In many countries the government sets requirements for first aid training forcing the companies that would otherwise not spend on safety.
    Business insurance companies, and if you want to protect yourself and stay in business very long you better have it, raise the rates bases on a company’s safety training and safety history. After all they are in business to make money too.

  10. BobV on 4 October 2016 at 10:37 pm

    On the “30 miles from the nearest anything”. In the US there is Wilderness First Aid training available (not sure elsewhere.) Like Red Cross First Aid, plus wheat to do because it’s a long time until help arrives. I’m WFA certified, as I lead hikes into the woods.

    • Chris B on 5 October 2016 at 8:25 am

      That’s real credible training.
      I did years ago, Combat first aid training. It’s all about saving lives and protecting the individual from deterioration until full medical help and evacuation is possible.
      Also using your initiative to create splints dressing and shelter from whatever is around you.
      Certainly nothing about pretty bandages and dressing that are in date for use or flowery certificates which are useless when it gets real.
      No place for risk assessment and idea condition just straight forward 1st Aid!

  11. Marty Amello on 17 October 2016 at 2:40 am

    I’ve worked in some very dangerous places and found most coworkers glad to help out, but as time has come and gone it seems that the general public is more interested in taking pictures of suffering to be the first to post their video of it on YouTube. I’ve witnessed a man getting run over by a van, laying in the street begging for help while dozens of onlookers took pictures, but offered no help whatsoever. I called immediately for an ambulance, but the crowds around him did nothing but point their phones at him to get the video. Real heroes.
    Luckily emergency services were but a few blocks away and arrived quickly, but had it been miles away the poor man may have died while others laughed and shot video..

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