According to charities like the British Heart Foundation and St Johns Ambulance, Uk First Aid training is still lacking in terms of public awareness. The latest round of televised ads from St John Ambulance highlights the helplessness of a parent without the skills to save their own child.
How should a defibrillator be used? What is the recovery position? What is a pulse oximeter? How should chemical burns be treated?
St Johns Ambulance estimates around 55% of parents wouldn’t know the appropriate First Aid response is to an emergency involving their child. And more worryingly, many people wouldn’t step in to administer First Aid on someone else’s child for fear of making things worse.
It’s this two-pronged issue that needs to be addressed in the UK – more people need First Aid training, and more emphasis needs to be placed on confidence in an emergency situation.
What are the First Steps of First Aid?
Thorough First aid training isn’t just about the basic medical tools to save a life. It’s about checking surroundings, confidence in skill and calmness in a stressful situation. The standard First Aid first steps are:
a) Check for danger – is the casualty in a safe place?
b) Check their response – shout an instruction to see if they respond, then gently shake their shoulders.
c) Check visible injuries, e.g. severe bleeding.
d) Check the airway is clear.
e) Are they breathing? This is the point where CPR should be started if necessary.
Sound’s like a lot to do at once? The best First Aid training teaches participants these skills alongside the importance of staying calm and rational whilst making very quick decisions. For example, it should only take a second to assess danger and then move to check for a response if the area is clear.
It seems this is the aspect most First Aiders find challenging – confidently making vital decisions in a high stress situation. UK charities and organisations like the British Heart Foundation are keen to promote the importance of being confident in First Aid skills, quickly stepping forward in an emergency.
First Aid for Sport
As Fabrice Mumba was carried off the pitch covered in pulse oximeters, heart monitors and breathing apparatus, the world saw live how important on-site First Aid can be. Various sports personalities, including golf pro Bernard Gallacher (who suffered cardiac arrest at a corporate event) back moves to make defibrillators available at more leisure centres alongside much publicised First Aid training events.
First Aid and Driving
What’s the first step on the scene of an accident? New proposals to increase the license age of young drivers in the UK to 18 are aimed at reducing the number of accidents on Britain’s roads. The British Red Cross is also keen to promote specialist First Aid courses for all drivers to make a vital difference within the first minutes after an accident has taken place.
About the author: Libby Carins is a freelance writer who has written for a number of high profile websites including www.stjohnsupplies.co.uk.