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First Aid Training: A Minefield for Businesses

When HSE’s FAAMS (First Aid Advisory and Monitoring Service) was replaced with the concept of Awarding Organisations (AO’s) in October 2013 and the HSE as a body no longer approved first aid training providers or qualifications a massive increase in training providers hit the market across the United Kingdom.

Some of these are 'training organisations' providing a massive list of different courses in various health and safety, first aid, fire and other related fields with full class based courses, online courses and refresher training. Honestly, it is too much to wade though at times.

In theory, with the Internal Assessors, External Assessors and Monitoring from these Awarding Organisation’s, standards should increase from the days of three HSE staff trying to cover the whole country and ensuring compliance.

Unfortunately, with this massive increase in training providers, this is not always the case.

The course may meet the required standards set out by the AO but there may be little, if any ‘hands on’ practical experience on the course. The course students getting their hands on the equipment they could end up using to save a life could make the difference between a minor incident and a massive disaster for your company.

If however, you just want a course for staff that enables them to be certified for the next three years you probably don’t really care who provides the training as long as there’s a certificate at the end of it. 'It covers your insurance!'

But is this good for your company?

If, however you want your staff to come away from the experience feeling they can cope in an emergency is this going to be enough? Probably not.

HSE provide a guidance document on 'Selection of a competent first aid training organisation' For more information, cut and paste the link here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/firstaid/approved-training.htm

Take the time to talk to your training provider to find out:

  • how they'll deliver the course to your staff.
  • How much practical is there in the course?
  • Are there any formal (written) exams?
  • Is there scenario based training? (Scenarios are used by most NHS trusts, air ambulance criticial care teams and other recue organisations as they provide a better realisation of the types of things to be considered in an incident. Realism works!)
  • Is the assessor the same person as the trainer?
  • Is there any opportunity for refresher training? or Additional Training?

I’ve known of people who qualify as first aid at work holders one week, then straight onto a FAW trainers course the following and out to train. Is this right? I'd say no!

These ‘professional trainers’ have never laid hands on a ‘real’ casualty so although they may be able to teach what's in the book, how about those situations that make up most incidents that only practical experience teaches you?

It takes time to learn and become experienced in first aid like most practical subjects. the general rule of thumb is it takes three years of experience at a mimimum at a practical level to become a subject 'expert'. First Aid, like most subjects though, you never stop learning. Techniques change over time, fashions alter. Some practices fall out of favour. Staying operational as a current first aider/ambulance/medic should ensure you stay on top of these things. 

All Red Kite SAR trainers for rescue, first aid and medical skills have years of experience in the field actually doing the job ‘for real’ with the emergency services, voluntary services or in industry.

At Red Kite training is practical based wherever possible using skills stations and scenarios to enhance the learning of the students. This gives them much more confidence than a 100% classroom based approach. 

This makes for a better, more rounded and experienced trainer.

Contact Us for more details on our training services.

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