First aid courses: Be prepared to help in emergency situations

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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Could you save somebody’s life? In an emergency situation, first aid training could help you to do just that. First aid courses teach simple medical techniques that provide temporary care until full medical treatment is available. These courses will teach you to recognise, assess and respond to injuries, accidents, mishaps, incidents and illnesses.

Basic and practical first aid courses

First aid training can be broken down into several key areas. These are emergency, occupational, practical and paediatric (or child care).

Basic first aid courses teach aspects of each as well as first aid principles. Participants on an introductory courses will learn how to treat burns and scalds, choking, loss of consciousness, poisoning, tissue damage and electrocution. They will also receive training in how to deal with common conditions such as asthma, diabetes and epilepsy.

Practical first aid courses cover much the same ground. However, they focus more on the practical elements of treating a patient.

Occupational first aid

Occupational first aid courses teach you how to respond to workplace accidents. These include head injuries, sprains, strains or burns. You will also learn how to administer CPR and use a defibrillator in the event of heart attack or cardiac arrest. In addition, you will learn aspects of accident assessment, scene management and dealing with post-event trauma.

Paediatric first aid

Paediatric first aid courses are ideal for parents, professional childcare workers or teachers. These teach you how to respond in emergency situations such as accidents, febrile convulsions, meningitis, breath-holding or shock.

A separate but related area is sports (or pitchside) first aid. These are ideal for coaches, instructors, teachers, supervisors, and sports assistants. As well as injuries caused by overexertion or high impact, a sports first aid course will also teach you how to treat head injuries and unconsciousness, extremes of heat of cold, shock and chest pains.

Why do it?

The answer to that is fairly obvious! First aid can save a life, or assist someone with an injury. On average, over 7,000 workplace accidents take place each year. In Ireland, over one hundred people choke to death annually. In addition, thousands of us are injured in traffic accidents each month. A first aid course will give you life-saving skills and allow you to be confident in an emergency situation. If you are an employer, then undergoing first aid training means that you are complying with your legal obligation under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act.

 At a glance

First aid courses typically run for 8 to 10 weeks. On completion, students will receive a certificate accredited by a body such as QQI, the Red Cross or the Order of Malta.

Check out first aid courses here.

Frank Bolger

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