Wednesday, 22 July 2009

The first aid conundrum

After looking at a few of the responses I've had after remarking on the weakness of qualified first aiders in their capacity to do anything of any value, I've decided to run the debate as a post, instead of responding to comments.

You may or may not know (or have any interest in it) but I've been teaching qualified first aiders for more than fifteen years and run a fairly successful little company, training people all over the UK. I consider myself an expert on the subject and fully understand the legal capacity in which workplace first aiders are supposed to operate.

Unfortunately, a lot employers dont give a toss about this and only train their employees because they have to. They dont care that the training they receive may be inadequate, amateur or dangerous and they dont care whether those chosen to do the training actually make any difference to the work environment. Of course, many other employers dont even bother with any training because the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), which is the legal governing body in this country, has no teeth and very little time or manpower to seek out and punish them. You have a much, much higher chance of getting caught without a TV licence than without a properly trained person who can potentially save the life of a colleague.

Ive been teaching to a high standard all of my career and simply wont drop them; this has cost me a few contracts, I can tell you. Some of the biggest companies out there are so hell bent on not allowing their employees to have the responsibility and power that goes with their qualification, that they obstruct any attempt to teach the rule of law. This goes on in some schools too - the first aiders are frequently over-ruled by their superiors and one school in particular just would not have me telling them that storing prescription-only medicines on site when the children weren't there was potentially illegal (look at the medicines act) - it seems some people just don't want the facts.

My company teaches in around 100 schools a year. The market is dominated by the voluntray services, particularly The Red Cross and the St. Johns Ambulance (SJA) and I've come across some incredible pieces of advice given to those in charge of our little ones; 'dont put a plaster on a cut', for example - almost as if that is illegal. It's not and never has been. There never, ever was a rule against it. Also, the 'don't take a splinter out of a child's finger' (or any part of them presumably) because that's an assualt, based on the premise that it is an invasive procedure! Think about it, these people (teachers and school staff) are in loco parentis; they can do whatever a reasonable parent might do and I'm pretty damned sure a reasonable parent would remove a splinter and not bother calling 999 or taking the child to A&E!

I'm not having a dig at one organisation or another and I'm sure that as I found my feet in training all those years ago, I wasn't perfect BUT this is ludicrous.

Schools are now being told that they must only accept training from OFSTED's approved list - ironic because the HSE is responsible for approving companies, nobody else. However, they want to regulate the paediatric side of training (not covered by HSE - yet) and this has led, in my opinion, to the downfall of a legal requirement that ensures they have adequate first aid cover for staff. A school that wishes to comply and get a good OFSTED report will need to send their people out to do a 2 day (twelve hour) course. The cost of this is astronomical (around £50 to £100 per head) and the value of what they actually learn and retain is debatable. Even people with a full 4 day's training and who are 'qualified' can turn out to be inadequate when it comes to the crunch, simply because of the quality of their lessons, the information (such as the drivel I highlighted above) given and the poor retention of skills and knowledge over the 3 years that they must have them (no practise, you see). It appears that many training organisations are so busy telling first aiders what they can't do that the whole point of them being trained at all rides off into the mist.

All of this may mean nothing to you but it makes our jobs difficult sometimes, as you know from my recent posts, and it smacks of someone, somewhere making millions for a low standard of training - in schools and elsewhere.

A qualified first aider is legally responsible for the emergency care of colleagues in the workplace. He or she must carry out their skills responsibly and with a degree of competency in order to potentially save a life and prevent loss of earnings (for employer and employee) through unnecessary sickness. This isn't happening and across the country you will see glaring examples of ignorance and apathy. Companies who have no first aider on duty are breaking the law and some of the biggest culprits are the biggest companies. If you have an accident in one of their premises and find this out, sue the arse off them, they deserve the punishment for their complacency (legally they dont have to take care of visitors to their site but they still have a duty of care, so they will settle out of court through fear).

First aiders who sat through their course yawning and whining about how hard it was, should not be doing the job. They had a choice not to be on the course in the first place; they just didn't know it because their boss bullied them into doing it.

If you are a qualified first aider in the workplace, get your act together if you haven't already because you will get caught out and it will be someone's father, mother, sister or brother who pays the price for your reluctance to practise and take seriously your role. Do a little reading up every month; pretend to resuscitate something - anything. Carry out the recovery position and get that damned elevation sling that you are useless at, right!

For those of you that know what you are doing (and I've met many of you), well done and be proud. First aid training is essential because it removes the fear and ignorance of taking care of others. Our ambulance services are in a mess because our kids know nothing of it and will simply pass the buck to a 999 call on the basis that they 'didn't know what else to do'.

In the public domain, there is no legal duty of care for you - its a matter of human principle to help people in trouble or get stuck in and do your best. You cannot be sued for trying to save someone unless you attempt to do it by methods that you are untrained in.

Whatever you feel about this subject, this is my personal opinion, but it is based on almost two decades of experience, learning and teaching.

I'm bored now.... your turn!



Standard Raiser said...

I'm a first aider at my workplace and I also volunteer with St John Ambulance - the volunteering came before the job, so I was more than happy to take on the role at work.

I like to think that I do a decent job of things. I know I'm not perfect but I try my best and I try to learn from experiences and improve on what/how I do things. What irks me, however, is the number of people that I've seen on both internal (member) and external (public) courses that "pass" various first aid and related courses while having little to no grasp of the basics.

One of the courses I did was learning to use an AED. It's not exactly rocket science, the machine tells you what to do. There were two ladies who just could not do a primary survey (grab the casualty tight around round the throat to open the airway anyone?) nor could they do effective CPR on Annies in a controlled environment. They couldn't even follow the instructions that the AED was giving. However, after a "referral" (nobody "fails" these days) and another try (which we could hear through the door, and sounded just as bad as before) they somehow passed.

There are members that I hate going out on duty with because they're so utterly incompetent. Generally they're nice people, but just so bad at even the basics as to be dangerous. I hate doing duties with them not because of who they are but because the way they act reflects so badly on the people that DO get it right and constantly try and improve. People are far more likely to remember and comment on a bad experience than a good one.

I wish standards were tightened, not to make it difficult for people to pass, because I think that first aid skills should be something that as many people as possible are taught, but so that when they use those skills they are safe and effective in doing so. There are some people that I would rather instruct a random member of the public how to treat me than let them anywhere near me, and it disappoints me.

michaell said...

I did a first aid course a few weeks ago (with SJA, and the trainer commented that she liked doing Saturday courses because people were there because they wanted to be, rather than because work had sent them). The trainer didn't discourage us from calling 999, but she did make very clear what does and does not qualify as "difficulty in breathing" and how to usefully report levels of consciousness to the person taking the 999 call (including that you should try and wake people up before reporting that they are unconscious).

So far my only related act as a first aider has been to prevent someone calling an ambulance to a man lying unconscious in the street. I got close enough to find that the man smelled of alcohol, and after a couple of tries at shouting "are you ok?", unconscious man opened his eyes and mumbled something of which the only English word I picked out was "sleep". This, possibly in combination with my saying I was a first aider (hardly true after a 1 day course) was enough to convince the man waving his blackberry (and the several other people who had also stopped by this point) around that an ambulance wasn't required.

I think reading ambulance-related blogs has given me quite a lot of insight into when not to call an ambulance. We did just leave him lying on the pavement though, so I only hope someone else didn't call an ambulance for him shortly afterwards.

Deborah said...

Hi - I did FAW for my employer and then after about 3 weeks, realised that I would have forgotten it by the time anything happened. Ended up joining SJA and have just qualified as an ETA. I get lots of practice now - especially with wasp stings and drunk people - but occasionally a goody. My first aid kit is ready behind me - Tuffcuts taped to the lid, with packet of gloves placed on the lid ready to go, with resus mask. hopefully won't ever be needed!

Tom said...

Hear hear.

As stated earlier, my wife was obliged, and willingly undertook a St John's half day course to satisfy the law in relation to her place of business.

I have to say that I drove her down and was invited to stay for the duration of the course. Having recently qualified as a front-line crewman on emergency ambulances, I was pleased that the 'amatuers' had some good info. However, when a well meaning charecter decided that he could provide the gospel about management of fractures in a mere 30 minutes, I was somewhat deflated.

The good 'samaritan measures' recognised by the law, will still devolve responsibility to the pros, as we are in the grip of a litigious society, upon which despite your best efforts, the senior manager will look at the companies insurance before deferring to his first-aider.

Cat said...

I'm just doing a FAW course, the official course booklet (written by a paramedic) contains information such as Insulin helps break down sugars in the blood, and tells us to call an ambulance if a child suffers a febrile convulsion. My tutor today told us that people no descended from africa can have sickle cell disease! We also got don't take a splinter out with a needle, leave it to the parents. As a recent graduate in Human biology I have to bite my tongue at what these 'experts' are telling us.

Andrew said...

Thankyou! I'm in the process of being trained by the SJA to become a volunteer, I've only done CPR and dressings at the moment and due to do the 3 day course in September, the training I've had so far is excellent but even at the place there's people who are there just for a laugh, somewhere along the line the young today (I can talk, I'm 18) have lost what the definition of "first aider" means and the level of competence and responsibility that, as default, we with it. What amazes me is that, especially basic first aid, how much of it is common sense and those that can't even grasp that shouldn't even be trusted with a plaster. As for company/school liability towards first aid, my sixth form/secondary school is hilarious. The slightest graze and there's an FRU and amb at the door and histerical parents rushing in. god knows what they tell the call handlers. From the few injuries I've seen, the "first aiders" plod along with their microscopic green aid box and, er, call the LAS. I could do better with my eyes shut. And how come schools don't have defibs'? Think of how many students, teachers, cleaners there are, it's a big public place (sort of) am I on to something? - massive fan of the blog, keep it up, it's played a big part in me deciding to join the LAS next year, 3 year degree, not a bungling first aider in sight!

Ben said...

As a nightclub doorman, and not having any first aid knowledge, I read your blog with interest and so hope you dont mind me asking an open question to your readers and youself.

A common recurrence on your blog is of your annoyance at being called out for drunk people, which I totally understand, as being drunk is clearly not a life or death emergency.

However in a town where we do not have a 'booze bus', what action would you recomend we take for the very drunk / drugged who become unconscious, hysterical, hyper-ventilating etc?

I feel embarrased to call for an ambulance for such people but regularly do so as I cannot see any other option. For example, people are often brought from the toilets 'unconcscious', certainly not responding to me. I lay them down in our foyer or outside, and then dont know what to do with them. Am I right to call an ambulance? What action could / should a qualified first aider take?

Fee said...

I was a first aider in a previous job - there's a two year waiting list to be one at my current place! I was trained by the St Andrews Ambulance people in Edinburgh - they did a great job. They had no hesitation in failing those who clearly didn't grasp the basics/give a damn and made it clear that hitting three 9's was a last resort and only for very serious issues. I've done it once in my FA capacity - crushing chest pain in an overweight 55 year old man with a history of heart problems. He ended up with a bypass and me? Clear conscience!

Most of the stuff I saw in the workplace was pretty routine - the odd chancer looking to be sent home, and dishing out plasters to girls having trouble with new shoes!

The company I now work for also has an on-site nurse, who responds to any major emergencies, and has the final say on calling 999. I do hear some workplace horror stories from friends about first aiders suggesting an ambulance for anything more serious than a papercut, though, so it maybe depends as much on the common sense of the first aider as it does on the quality of training.

Jones87 said...

the HSE once said that it was there job to protect life, not stifle it. Yeah right....

I've been working as a first aider with red cross, and i've heard rumours that people in the SJA cannot give first aid (including sticking on plasters) until they are 21, and can only be observers or something like that. Has the world gone crazy??? and is this true??

Weggy1978 said...

Think you're spot on there mate.

I did FAW the first time over 10 years ago. Never had to use any of the skills learnt and let the qualification expire after 3 years. If I needed to do CPR after, say, 2 years I would have been clueless.
I was approached again (new company this time) about 18 months ago. Did the FAW course and the trainer was also a community responder. Just over a year ago, I completed my CFR course too and have been attending calls ever since. I now feel really happy that my skills are kept up to date should the worst happen at work... oh, and very glad that I had another HCP next to me at that first cardiac arrest I attended - training alone will never prepare you for that

Keith said...

I am a teacher and hold FAW. Ironically, I'm over qualified in terms of what is expected in schools, according to my LA - you only need one appointed person in a Primary School apparently!
I'd like to think I am good at what I do. I'm more than happy about putting on plasters and pulling out splinters. To date (and I can say this, as it's the summer holiday), I have only felt the need to dial 999 on one occasion - and that was to a member of staff. I normally arrange for parents to be contacted if I have any (slight) concerns, which seems to suit everyone.

I've been trained in first aid for over 20 years and have seen a lot of different trainers. I did my most recent FAW with a tutor from the local college who was also a commutity first responder and for once it was all based on common sense and doing the best you can.

Anonymous said...

I'm in Switzerland working in a university lab, we had our "first help responsible" suffering a burn to her hand (hot water scald) and not even knowing that she had to put her hand under cool water and take her wedding ring off before the finger was too swollen to do that...
She and a colleague were looking for a potato to put on the burn! (local folk remedy, it seems)
And each Swiss with a driving license must have had a course on first help, by the way...I wonder where did she get it.

Viking83 said...

I think your remark that some first aiders are useless is very true. I have taught courses with the St John Ambulance (more on that in a minute) and I have met some of the fruits of my labour later in my career and thought 'who the bloody hell taught you that?' and then remember too late they have forgotten my training and either listened to some one they shouldn't have or have made it up themselves.
There are members of the 'Brigade' I dread going on duty with, because they are utterly useless at the most basic things or hold old fashioned values: like men, even in an emergency, are not allowed into a ladies bathroom.
The other problem I find with SJA is they are deathly afraid of calling for professional help because it will make them look bad.
I must admit that as I'm a nurse a work place first aider idea doesn't apply to me or my job, but theres been times when my Emergency First Responder knowledge has carried more weight then my nursing degree.
I'm shocked that many work place first aiders are just a formality and get over ruled for the slightest thing, and who said we aren't allowed cover kids in plasters? Oh and I did once get the, oh no we don't take out splinters line to which I said something about infection and amputaion. That settled that.
On an aside, who is this John guy? Its (at least in Ireland) St John Ambulance. John's suggest its possesive, and if so who is this John guy who possess half the countrys volunteers? Answers on a postcard.

Xf said...


Dont know about the whole age thing but I'm told they are not allowed to carry out the most basic test for a diabetic - a BM, because it is considered invasive. How they confirm hypoglycaemia in a known diabetic is anyone's guess.

Xf said...


Read what I write very carefully. I am not having a pop at those who call ambulances for very, very drunk people...I am annoyed at the drunk for getting like that in the first place. You have a duty of care and you should always call us without guilt if you have an 'unconscious' drunk on the premises.

Clearly, they cannot be taxied home and you cannot take them elsewhere, so unfortunately and because of their idiocy, YOU and I are stuck with them.

I fully supprot door staff and their struggle with this nonsense every weekend (or every night), so you have my backing here.

Being drunk isn't a 999 call but being so drunk you cannot stay conscious for more than ten seconds is. What we need is a society that knows how to drink responsibly.

Tom said...

I personally admire organisations like the SJA and Red Cross, because it is proof that many people are prepared to 'do the business' on behalf of their fellow man.

During my service I witnessed the best and worst of these organisations. One thing however stuck in my mind. While the wind and rain poured down on my crewmate and I, our pay would defray our mortgages. Not so the heardy volunteers, who regardless of the circumstances stood firm.

Our FX is in my view right to refer to the winging, yawning twits in his class, as losers. Ultimately, those who do progress, make all of us potentially winners.

Omega said...

My son has been left with a probably permanent fear of wasps after getting stung at school. The only treatment they gave him was a cold compress on the sting because "we can't put vinigar on it in case he has an allergic reaction". It took me over half an hour to get to the school to pick him up because of where I was when they rang and he was crying from the pain.

Anonymous said...

Reading these comments is actually frightening. I've been in SJA for 8years, and in our area, you don't get referral if you aren't good enough. It's a fail, and come back on x when we are re-doing the course.
With regards to doing first aid before 21, our policy is as follows: ALL new members, regardless of age can only be observers until they have completed their Basic First Aid course.
I don't know about the BM checking, I was under the impression we could do that at PTA/ETA level.

I think it has got ridiculous, we can't do anything without filling in an A3 form, and sometimes you do wonder when the lawsuit is coming.
The commercial side of training for workplaces is ridiculous. The FAW takes place over four days, and covers too much to realistically train people away from 999.
I felt bad on the two occasions I have called an ambulance on duty, even though it was warranted. Part of me just feels like they have enough to do without us calling.

Jones87 said...


we are in a similar position with red cross, we have the kit to test BM but are not allowed to use it as first aiders. They are waiting for a course on how to use the kit to be created, so then we can take assessments which we have to pass and re-validate every 3 years....need i say anymore

Viking83 said...

wiccabex, interesting you should bring up paper work. SJA paper work is very good based on both Irish and English Patient Report Forms. However I have worked a few gigs that provide their own PRFs and these aren't an excersise in communication (to a stressed a&e nurse) they are an excersise in backside covering.
The most recent had three lines for me to fill in an AMPLE history and provided staff just to stand and watch us do out the PRFs correctly.

Standard Raiser said...


SJA are actually just starting to change their stance on the BM thing, at least in some places.

Where I am, all the ETA-level members are getting trained to do it. There are rumours that they're going to get PTA-level members to do it too and we're trying to persuade them to let first aid-level members do it as well, but it's been slow enough to get this far.

It's definitely frustrating when dealing with apparent drunks and you don't know whether they are actually drunk or hypoglycaemic.

Deborah said...

It's incorrect about SJA members not being able to do First Aid till they are 21. You can't do PTA/ETA until 21 but that's because of driving the vehicles. Cadets are under 18 and are taught to do CPR. On a duty the adults would take over, but that is more to spare a youngster an unpleasant experience.

TA said...

I am an operational member (under 21) of SJA and an IHCD qualified First Responder Intermediate.

I agree 100% with this post. I also agree with many of these responses.

SJA have a bad rep for being the bossy, incompetent guys wearing ceremonial caps, ribbons and ties at the annual village fete.

In reality, we are the number one NHS support for emergency medical care in times of pressure. We do patient transfers, A&E work, major event cover and city centre coverage at New Year and Christmas. We have advanced first aiders, PTAs, ETAs, First Responders, Technicians, Nurses, Paramedics and Doctors providing top standard care to people all over the world, yet we aren't recognised for this because the incompetence of first aiders still exists within the organisation.

The endless rules and regulations on invasive procedures, PRFs for sticking on a plaster, all this lack of common sense isn't the norm for operational members. A majority of us take our role seriously and work as humans. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case and it is that view that seems to be prominent.

We want the reputation of a voluntary ambulance service that can provide just as high a level of care as the NHS with our own paramedics, EMTs and doctors because that is what we are.

But no; it is the petty first aiders that adhere too strictly to procedures and policies to bend them in favour of common sense or to adapt them to a situation that we are seen as.

While first aid is a very low level of basic qualification, it should still be handled by its practitioners with as much respect as the PTA/ETA responder or technician role is by its practitioners.

Not until first aid is appropriately respected and practiced by those qualified will it be by the general public or the NHS trusts.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Under 21s not alowed to do first aid in SJA... we have had some of our cadets doing full CPR on a real casualty. If the cadets are out on duty and have their qualifications they can, with adults present do first aid - every thing they learn they can put into practice and everything they learn is as much as what the adults learn. Some cadets I have met are better than some adult first aiders!

SJA members are well trained most of the time, and if they have the capacity to treat and transport, then we will, and will only call for back up if anything is beyond our skills. AED skills have to be revalidated every 90 days, we have to pass essential care skills etc every year to prove our fitness for role, be it first aider or PTA / ETA etc

Back to First aid and the limitations... Health and safety has completely removed our common sense! I have occasionally in the past tried to steristrip before sending people for stitches or glueing!

I have also had the fortune or missfortune to re do my FAW on the commercial side - The tutors are great but some of the general public sent to do their three yearly requal are completely clueless, despite the fact they have been their employers first aider for many years. One woman suggested a paper bag for an asthmatic. I refrained from chucking my ventolin at her...

Anyway, there are going to be good first aiders and bad first aiders.... please remember the good ones!!

Kate... somethere in the South East of the UK

MarkUK said...

Xf - as a CFR, I'd love to be able to do a BM off my own bat. Unfortunately, our ambulance trust will not allow it because it's "invasive". So using an OPA isn't?

I've done BM several times under the "supervision" of a paramedic (can you do a BM? - no, CAN you do one, not are you allowed? - OK, the kit's in the end pocket of the bag).

I'd welcome the opportunity to be able to do BM and BP, but the Trust obviously wants us on scene to make the 8 minutes!

martyn said...

Not sure where the idea that Red cross cannot do BMs has come from. The current protocol is that BM, BP, Peak flow etc are all included under the Resus support & monitoring course, which, in this area at least, is held by about 70% of members. The training standards are set and all volunteers are failed if they do not meet them. These standards are applied to all first aiders. Red Cross ambulance crews are all assesses under IHCD guidelines by an external paramedic trainer to ensure there is no cronyism

martyn said...

Not sure where the idea that Red cross cannot do BMs has come from. The current protocol is that BM, BP, Peak flow etc are all included under the Resus support & monitoring course, which, in this area at least, is held by about 70% of members. The training standards are set and all volunteers are failed if they do not meet them. These standards are applied to all first aiders. Red Cross ambulance crews are all assesses under IHCD guidelines by an external paramedic trainer to ensure there is no cronyism

Laurence said...

I work at a children's adventure playground and was trained to be an appointed person last year. Because of the nature of the business, we have a team of first aiders at different levels.

My course last year was very good; it was very practical and based on showing us all the different ways of using plasters, eye-patches, melanin patches, slings as well as the more serious CPR and dealing with unconciousness. I've used the knowledge regularly since being trained.

This years batch of staff to be trained had an entirely different experience. Same First Aid training company, new owners, different tutor. They said all they did all day was learn how to put a plaster on a finger, listened to the woman talk and practised CPR. They didn't do slings, head injuries and done hardly any practical at all.

As a result, we've been having the newbies observing us much more than in previous years to get them up to scratch.

In our case, it is not our first aiders who are unenthusiastic about being trained but the quality of the training going down hill.

Xf said...


True. This is happening across the board in the pursuit of a fast buck in the training industry and I'm afraid its about to get a whole lot worse as less stringent quality control allows 'cowboy' companies to do the training.

Uncle J said...

Deborah said "On a [SJA] duty the adults would take over, but that is more to spare a youngster an unpleasant experience."

I gently suggest that "somebody" needs to be re-trained in current National Policies?

ellie Henn said...

Im a SJA trained FA and i knew and practiced far more FA before i was qualified. i took the training for my work and wanted the certificate and insurance as i am the first aider for my Youth Group - previously unnofficially,
Before i went to the training i would never have considered calling an ambulance for 99% of the injuries we have had, all the training did was teach me to call an ambulance as this seems to be the cure for everything, even the method for calling is wrong - they say just give the address and get off the phone, no mention of how to describe the symptoms or the fact that control really help through thr wait. its utterly rubbish and just causes a shed load of panic and bad treatments! i now stick to the common sense variety of FA as at least then i know my lot are safe :) i think the Ambulance Service should be the only people allowed to offer first aid traning to anyone.


Anonymous said...

Well, I'm FA with SJA - and yes, the A3 PRF is a pain in the neck, but I also understand why there has to be consistancy accross the organisation. I have just come from a Youth event (yesterday) where cadets as young as 12 were doing wound cleanse & dress etc.

We can't take a BM until ETA level. As for members passing when they shouldn't - well, I know of several people who have either had to re-do courses, or in one case who has become a support member as she just couldn't grasp the basics and would not be safe to go out on duty.
properly trained first aiders can be invaluable in saving life and giving treatment - poorly trained or rusty, they can be a liability. Personally I've heard more bad advice from my workplace appointed person who did his course 6 months ago, then from anyone within SJA

TA said...

I'm afraid I disagree with Ellie Henn. The SJA FAW course is the best one out there.

I've recently done my obligatory re-qual and there wasn't (and never has been in my experience) anyone advising that ambulance control desks should just be told an address. I think if that was the case, your trainers need to be sent packing.

First aid is far too basic a level of training to be the only treatment given to a lot of injuries - hence the term, first aid. The advice to call an ambulance or arrange transport to hospital is deemed necessary for some cases collaboratively by SJA and the NHS.

Trust me, the course content is 100% correct and worth trusting more than unofficial training.

The courses abide by the law in telling people to dial 999 when there is a head injury involved, etc. By law, they have to tell you this. It is dictated by HSE.

That itself isn't the problem. It's when people take this too literally and don't apply common sense and medical knowledge to the solid, correct training that they got.

I'm sure if you use common sense in conjunction with your SJA training, you'll find yourself delivering a good standard of First Aid.

Pardue said...

Yes! Thank you, Stuart, for mentioning the concept of in loco parentis. It's a common-sense and powerful legal concept intended to give adults the freedom to help the little ones, even strangers, when there's an emergency. Here in the US it's well-developed legal theory.

More people need to be taught this concept and the related parameters. But how?

Matt Dinnery said...

My old specialist college halls had some very interesting first aid practices...

Two members of staff had come across a 21 year old male who had slipped on the stairs, and was complaining of pain in his left ankle. The first thing they did was to pick him up, and walk him down the stairs - right where I was stood.

At this point, a battle of wills took place, with me clearly giving direction that they leave the casualty to me, and use their radios to call for backup for me.

They refused, saying I was a student, and therefore couldn't give first aid. I told them that what they were doing could frankly be considered dangerous, and certainly not within protocol, and thus I would be taking over treatment. At this point, one of them said she would radio for her shift leader - I told her to do so, because that shift leader was also the on-duty first aider who I wanted for backup anyway!

Needless to say, he arrived, helped me to sit down my casualty, sent his staff to the office, and went through DRABCDE with me. He then put another member of staff with me, and we joint treated the casualty whilst he went to deal with the building.

After 10 minutes of ice, we assisted him upstairs at his own pace, and continued to follow RICER before putting on a crepe bandage (from my kit - halls don't stock them, because it's not on the HSE list).

Anonymous said...

Well aren't you the hero?

Xf said...


Nope, I'm not. I'm a grown-up with a whole life history of doing stuff...right and wrong. I will help anybody anytime and have strong opinions about people that post weak statements like this.

Merys said...

Hi, im gonna throw my pennies in now as well.

I'm FAW trained and have been for 5 years now. I've done it for my workplace and because I wanted to. I've also taught first aid in the past and enjoy handing down skills. The thing that annoys me is everyone's insistance to call 999 at the drop of a hat. I get the feeling that I upset someone when I used to First Aid at my old leisure centre by refusing to call an ambulance for a pulled muscle. But hey, who am I to make that decision...

TA said...


I believe that if you did know what you were talking about, you wouldn't be making such a statement... or indeed cowering behind the name "Anonymous".

Of course, if you do have any knowledge or practice in pre-hospital care, yet you disagree with the post, I'd suggest you put that practice to rest.

jules said...

i'm 15 and a first aider with the cadet forces, and some of the incompetency amazes me. i was visiting my local college when somebody in the group complained of diziness, collapsed and stayed unresponsive, i got somebody to go to get a first aider, i went through my primary survey and her breathing and pulse were weak, pulse was <50, so i got someone to call an ambulance, a first aider and campus responder arrived, i asked if they had an AED on site, to which i got "a what?" no further comment needed.

Stonehead said...

I walked out of an Approved Person First Aid course last night because I couldn't understand 90% of what the instructor was saying—even after I asked him to slow down and speak more clearly. And I've done quite a few first aid courses in the past so I know much of what he was covering.

Worryingly, everyone who stayed would be regarded as "knowing" first aid because, as the instructor made clear, a certificate is awarded for attendance and not competence.

First aid training said...

If one person of family had a course of first aid training then he can trained the whole family it can protect the whole family in the case of emergency.