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The first dip of my toe into First Aid

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Duke of York, Sep 21, 2015.

  1. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    I'm obliged to attend a variety of work-related training courses. Today's one was conducted by the British Red Cross and covered First Aid. I arrived to find a personal kit containing two bandages, a sling, a CPR face mask and a couple of booklets awaited me.

    I took in all the trainer had to tell us, conducted CPR and the Heimlich maneuver on mannequin torsos, placed another delegate in the recovery position wrapped a bandage around his arm and put his arm in a sling. It seems that's all there is too it these days. No blood or gore to worry about anymore.

    We had a number of silly tasks to go through in groups, such as write on a sheet of paper with a marker pen what we imagined made a good first airdist and what we imagined a first aid kit should and shouldn't contain, but all that anyone learned from these was the thoughts the delegates brought to the party, so I'm uncertain what training value is being offered in this.

    Apparently, we all need to do this again in three years time. Am I alone in thinking this is money for old rope?

    Questions I asked were:

    "What do the statistics tell us about the effectiveness of CPR when administered by non-medical personnel?"

    Answer: The chances of a first aidist being able to bring a casualty who isn't breathing back to life are slim. Around 1% at best. Mind you, If an ambulance crew turn up with a defibrillator, that can rise to 20%, since the CPR helps keeps the body oxygenated, but it all depends on how long it takes for the ambulance to get there.

    "If someone conducted CPR on me, and I was lucky enough to recover when the defibrillator arrived, what would be my most pressing concerns as a casualty?"

    Answer: You would probably have several cracked ribs and extensive bruising in the chest area. You might be grateful for being alive.

    "These bandages and the sling I've been given to take home to practice with... Which are the best places to apply them to myself in the hope of getting a bit of sympathy off my sweetheart for a change?"


    Ok, my question surprised the lady since a script for such a question hadn't been foreseen and it's always possible that a Red Cross worker is by nature a compassionate person and doesn't fully understand the question.

    Anyway, another way to look at today's course it that it cost £120 per delegate to attend and there were ten delegates today, so the British Red Cross turned over £1,200 from it. Costs would have been minimal, so they'll have made far more out of it than they'd get from a charity shop or waving collection tins around.

    In this respect, I think its a novel way to raise money for the Red Cross, and by making it a requirement that First Aidists need to be retrained every three years, it's an ongoing source of revenue for them.

    In the big scheme of things, I never got hurt by it. It was far less tedious than running a marathon or walking from John O'Groats to Landsend, or ever worse, the other way, as the rewards the journey offers diminish exponentially that way.

    To summarise, I don't believe I learned anything I hadn't previously known today, but if courses like these are money spinners for the likes of the Red Cross and large organisations are obliged to regularly send their staff on them, it sounds to me like a good idea.

    If I have a criticism about this notion, it would be that it doesn't exploit the opportunities to be had from prospective make up artists capable of applying "blood and gore" to members of the public who'd like to earn a tenner for an afternoon's work along with a free lunch.

    It's just a bit more on the cost for the course the organisations can afford, makes the course more exciting and gives occasional work to budding make up artists, the homeless, authors and poets to tide them over.

    Pensioners too maybe.

  2. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    I have been a first aider for 12 years.

    Never had to use CPR for real (thank heavens). Must have put on scores of slings and dozens of bandages. Also put a fair few of faintees, epileptics and others into the recovery position.

    Most useful aid won't be found in a first aid kit. It is ice, keep the ice trays full in your fridge and have a roll of small food bags to put them in when doling them out for bruises, burns, rashes and sundry swellings.
  3. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    The first 'first aid' course I did required knowing about several different ways to bandage different parts of the body; what to do/not to do if someone broke a hip; how to cope with a punctured lung; CPR on adults, children and babies; choking with adults, children & babies; recovery position; burns; acid burns; pressure points on bleeding (and not to apply a tourniquet as that was old-hat now).

    The last first aid course I did required knowing CPR, recovery position; choking with adults/babies, and basically 'just call an ambulance' and 'the chances of them surviving are very low so don't feel bad about it...'.
  4. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    Essentially, this was the message I had too today. I Think I knew it anyway from intuition, but at least now I'll get a certificate for my CV to prove I know how to call for help.

    Our trainer was kind enough to tell us that she can't cope with puke and in such a scenario will puke herself so there'll be two people to deal with.They don't make a big deal of this on Casualty, do they?

    There might be a subtle marketing opportunity in this.If ambulance crews parked outside MacDonalds always seem to puke up at the scene, but ambulances parked outside Jamie's burger van can always cope, how much might the writer expect in royalties from that?

    ROSIEGIRL Lead commenter

    A point worth remembering - however low the chances of someone surviving a cardiac arrest there is still a chance and my dad is one of those who did.

    In his mid seventies my dad had a sudden CA at home. By sheer chance my brother was there - he had no first aid training but dialled 999 and the operator talked him through CPR - he just followed the instructions until the ambulance came, which was thankfully pretty quickly.

    To cut a long story short my dad not only survived but got pretty much back to normal, with the help of an ICD. Yes, he probably had a broken rib or two, courtesy of my brother but that was a small price to pay. We know he's a very lucky man! (And my brother is a star!)

    This was 15 years ago.

    I've been on first aid courses since and each time the statistics about survival in these circumstances seem to get worse. I hope, if I was faced by a similar sitiation, I would at least give it a go because even if it is only a 1% chance of success it's still a chance for someone's husband or dad to survive.
  6. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I don't think anyone is suggesting you don't have a go. Just don't blame yourself if the casualty (unlike on TV) doesn't survive.

    Waste of time? Yes. Tick-box exercise? Yes. Elfin Safety gone mad? Yes.

    Problem is that you don't practise these skills often enough to be confident. Or (let's face it) remember what to do.

    And when in doubt? Call them out.

    For sprains etc it's just RICE. Rest ice compression elevation. But these days it's just IRE. Compression bandages are 'out'. Personally I like them though.

    Cuts are mostly just cleaning. Anybody can apply butterfly stitches. A sling is easily improvised. You only need a belt.

    In any sizeable operation have a very few trained people and use them consistently so they rehears their skills. And keep your mobile on you.
  7. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    The last time I attended a First Aid course, we spent most of our time discussing what we thought we would do, before being given a very little direction of what was OK. Mainly cold water and call an ambulance.

    The business is big in Early Years as OFSTED have a requirement for this. If you don't have a First Aid named person on duty you can fail your OFSTED.

    The qualification should be removed and only people with common sense should be allowed to act as First Aiders. It should therefore become a common sense training course, you could do it online as a test. Many First Aiders would be barred by this test. Those who hand out wet paper towels for bleeding injuries, they'd be banned. I used to get fed up with hoinking bits of bloodied wet tissue out of tot's hands.

    When my daughter broke her arm at high school every single person, from the cleaners to the HT examined her arm and manipulated it to see if she could move it. They all knew what to do. Only the Head of Biology who had her for first teaching session noted she was drip white and in shock and sent for us. This is the problem with First Aiders.
  8. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Nelly is right. The best advice is do nothing except: call an ambulance or bundle them up in your car and take them to hospital.
  9. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    The first and last time i did a First aid course was back in the 1960's as an industrial first aider.

    The course was more through than the ones described and i still retain all the basic principals of the course..various bits have been useful over the years and has been used to train basic first aid to cubs in the past.

    Te knowledge of what to do and what to look out for is more important than applying a bandage.....but in the area stopping the flow of blood knowledge has always been useful. Even lying on my back having come off my scooter i was able to advise what not to do to folks trying to be helpful.and show the ambulance man how to put on a sling !

    As to modern courses i bet you dont get asked what to do if your at the seaside and see a person being kicked by a donkey as I did!
  10. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Oh, the face is pale? Raise the tail.

    Face is red? Raise the head.
  11. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter


    I did the 4 day course with St John's back in the early 90s when I was a Deputy Head and I really, really enjoyed it (4 days out of school up London - what's not to like?). What it did do for me was to make me feel able to make calm assessments of kids skiving off in the medical room (which was largely the reason I was sent in the first place) and - in most cases - was able to send them packing with confidence.

    What annoyed and amused me by turns was quite some years later, when I was in my second headship, and the H & S chap up the LA refused to sign off trip risk assessments (which you need for the insurance cover and legal backing) if there was no first aider on the trip. No matter what the trip was or where it was going, you "must" have a first aider. My favourite of all was when a G & T group went to visit a university medical school...yes, they HAD to have a first aider with them.
  12. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Ha ha. In my RAs I used to put: Students and staff will be shown emergency points on arrival and taught to recognise personnel. Students and staff will approach the local staff in case of need BEFORE alerting school staff.
  13. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    I sign off on our trip RAs and I would only insist on a 1st aider if they were going somewhere out in the open where there would be no outside staff. Theatres, museums etc should have 1st aid trained staff on site. I keep a few small bum bag type 1st aid kits which I throw at staff going on trips.

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