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?" Answer: 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.