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The Ultimate Guide to First Aid

Know how to perform first aid, any time, anywhere

This guide will give you all of the essential information about first aid. Knowing how to perform even the simplest of first aid manoeuvres could be the difference between life and death. What many people don’t know is that first aid isn’t a one-fits-all practice, it’s actually immensely broad, nuanced and needs to be tailored. Different groups of people will require different types or particular aspects of first aid.

First aid is a topic which is always changing. We stay on top of this by constantly keeping our training courses up to date. Many workplaces will have had to adapt to the new regulations put in place to prevent the spread of the virus. We are still providing first aid training during COVID-19 to make sure that these workplaces remain safe for employees and that high standard of health and safety are maintained throughout.

Why is first aid important?

First aid is important because it’s often the best chance of preventing someone’s condition from deteriorating before the emergency services arrive. No one ever thinks an emergency will happen to them, or to someone around them. But the truth is that accidents can happen to anyone at any time. So whether you’re young or old, or you work in an office or in a hazardous environment, you may find yourself in a situation where you require first aid.

Paediatric first aid

When it comes to providing first aid for children, you’ll be facing one of the most difficult challenges in terms of first aid. Looking after children can be challenging on its own. But it becomes even more complicated if injuries are involved, especially serious ones. Those working with children in schools should be prepared. Children often hurt themselves when playing in groups, or may require first aid from sport-related injuries.

The reason why it’s so difficult to provide first aid care for children is that they are physically and emotionally different from adults. Their bodies aren’t fully grown and children of the same ages can be at different stages of development. This can make it hard to make estimations about what children might be experiencing and how much discomfort they could be in.

Another element of what makes pediatric first aid challenging is that young children typically aren’t emotionally stable. They can quickly become panicked and anxious when either suffering an injury themselves or witnessing a peer hurt themselves. This tendency to overreact and become hysterical can often turn what should be a manageable situation into an extremely difficult one.

Even finding out what’s wrong with a child in the first place can pose its issues. Children are not as experienced as adults at identifying and explaining pain. When a young child hurts themselves, it might even be the first time in their life that they’ve hurt themselves in that way. Different pain sensations indicate different injuries; shooting or stabbing pains usually suggest nerve injury, whereas a sharp and acute pain might mean broken bones.

Children also won’t be able to accurately describe what they’re feeling in the same way that adults do. So, this will require the first-aider to be patient and have some kind of understanding of what could be wrong. The ability to encourage children to explain what they’re feeling and to coax crucial information out of them even when they’re upset might make all the difference when it comes to providing them with the care they need.

This is why extensive training in first aid for childcare workers is so important. A basic understanding of children’s biology is required for the first-aider to understand the main vulnerabilities and what might be causing the pain. In addition to this, it’s also important for the carer to have a level-head and be able to respond in a calming manner to help diffuse escalating situations.

While pediatric first aid training is important for childcarers, it’s also something that parents should consider undertaking too. A study by the British Red Cross suggests that too few parents have basic first aid skills. Only 5% of adults surveyed felt ‘knowledgeable, confident and willing to act’ in three first aid emergency situations. These situations are; heavy bleeding; unresponsive and breathing; unresponsive and not breathing. While they’re not common, these situations could still arise and the research suggests that 95% of adults wouldn’t know how to act.

First Aid for adults

Pediatric first aid requires patience and the ability to help relax and converse with panicked children. First aid for adults presents its own challenges. Oftentimes, when an adult is injured and requires first aid, it’ll be something so serious that it prevents them from speaking altogether. This is why first aid training for life-threatening emergencies such as heart attacks and strokes is worthwhile. These medical emergencies are more common than most people think.

In general, situations where adults require first aid are more serious than when children need them. The condition might be so serious that all you can do is call for help and offer basic life support. This might be CPR or simply moving the individual into a more comfortable position.

Some of the most common first aid emergencies that occur to adults are:

Anaphylaxis (anaphylactic shock)

This is a severe allergic reaction that can occur after eating certain foods or being stung by insects. This allergic reaction can make it difficult for the person to draw breath as their tongue and throat may begin to swell. Usually, this reaction will happen almost immediately. This means those nearby should call for emergency assistance as soon as possible. In the meantime, assist the afflicted person by sitting them upright (if they’re conscious). Also, make sure that they’re comfortable and breathing as well as they possibly can.

Heavy bleeding

In this scenario, the objective should be to stem the bleeding to prevent blood loss. If too much blood is lost, the person may go into shock and become unresponsive. Contrary to what you may have seen in movies, if an item is embedded in someone, do not remove it because this will only increase blood loss. Remain calm and apply pressure on the wound until emergency services arrive.

Burning and scalding

In the case of providing first aid for burns and scalds, it’s crucial to apply cool running water onto the affected area as soon as possible. You should do this either for at least twenty minutes or when the pain has faded. This is a good example of why you’d need pediatric first aid training for burns as well because children’s bodies would react differently to adults. If a young child or baby suffers a burn, you’d have to cool the burn in shorter stints. This is because a continuous flow of cold water onto the skin could cause hypothermia. You should also carefully remove any jewellery or clothing that might affect the afflicted area. Do not apply any sprays, lotions or creams.


For anyone over the age of one year old, the following advice applies in the case of mild choking; encourage the person to cough or spit out any objects in the mouth. If this doesn’t work, give them firm blows on the back. Do not put your fingers down their throats as this might push the object even further down their throat.

For severe choking, the person may not be able to breathe or even make any noise at all. To help them, stand behind them and lean forward to encourage the object to tip out of their mouth as opposed to travelling down their mouth or throat. Give the person no more than five firm blows to the area between their shoulder blades with the heel of your hand. If the person is still choking after these procedures, call for emergency services and explain that the person is choking. Continue with back blows until the ambulance arrives.

Heart attack

Heart attacks are one of the most common life-threatening heart conditions that occur in the UK. Sometimes, people can be suffering from heart attacks and be unaware that it’s happening. This makes providing first aid for heart attacks extremely difficult. This is because the symptoms can differ. The most common one is chest pain which feels like pressure or tightness or general discomfort in the upper body. But heart attacks can also cause pain in other areas of the body, like the arms, jaw, back or abdomen. If you think someone is having a heart attack, call for emergency services as soon as possible. Then, move them into a comfortable sitting position until help arrives.

From this list, you can see just how many conditions first aid training can be crucial in treating. And this list only scratches the surface. There are still many more emergencies that could occur, such as electric shocks, fractures, poisoning, strokes and shock after a serious injury.

First Aid for the elderly

When it comes to providing first aid for the elderly, the whole process from diagnosis to taking action is entirely different from that of younger adults and children. Extra care must be taken because of how frail the individual may be. This could make them even more susceptible to suffering further damage if the first aid isn’t administered correctly.

One of the main difficulties comes from moving a person who has suffered an injury. This is quite a standard thing to do. Often, when people are injured they’re lying in unnatural or unsafe positions. Therefore they need to be readjusted for their own comfort. But even this seemingly normal process can pose dangers to elderly people. They may suffer from conditions that make movement painful or sore.

Older individuals face higher risks of suffering from certain injuries, such as heart attacks or falls. Both of these injuries may require the first aider to move the afflicted person. The moving and positioning of anyone in first aid are important, but even more so with the elderly. Caregivers should have basic first aid training for the elderly. If you have elderly parents or grandparents, then it may also be beneficial to know how to react in case of a first aid emergency. Having a first aid kit specifically for the elderly should also be something you consider.

First Aid for the workplace

In most workplaces, having individuals with adequate first aid training is a legal requirement. The Health and Safety Executive states that if employers have identified that trained first-aiders are necessary for their workplace, they must make sure that a sufficient number of individuals undertake the appropriate training they need.

As well as taking the first aid training courses in the first place, it’s important to stay up to date with your techniques and practices. The Health and Safety Executive also highly recommends that first-aiders in a workplace refresh their first-aid training annually. Although refresher training is not mandatory, it usually only takes half a day for first aid trainers to ensure that designated first-aiders stay up to date with vital skills and procedures. Should any accident happen then you can be sure your first aider will know what to do. This will also help to protect you as an employer if legal action is taken.

Vital Workplace Training specialises in delivering first aid training sessions to a wide range of sectors. We have provided first aid training to schools, making sure that all staff members know how to perform emergency childcare first aid. While school is generally a safe place, accidents on the playground can still lead to injuries such as bruising or fractures. Teachers being able to provide first aid training to children is crucial. It’s often those first few minutes after the injury when children are most panicked and need a calm and confident adult to take care of them until help arrives.

It’s not just children in schools who can suffer accidents. We have experience providing first aid training in the logistics industry, which is often a hazardous environment to be in. Knowing first aid in logistics is very important. The flow of resources from their point of origin to the point of consumption requires constant human handling. With some of these products no doubt being heavy loads, there is always a risk associated with the handling and positioning of resources. Our first aid training ensures that employees in the logistics industry know how to react in case someone has an accident. We also explain what to look out for in terms of avoiding common workplace injuries.

Vital Workplace Training has experience providing first aid training to the hospitality sector. Perhaps one of the broadest industries, hospitality includes lodging, food and drink, event planning, theme parks, transportation, hotels, restaurants and bars. It goes without saying that any number of accidents could occur in this extensive field of categories. First aid training in hospitality is extremely important. Working in an industry where members of the public are always present means that if an accident happens, there’s a chance they could be involved too. It’s crucial for your hospitality staff to be trained in first aid to make sure they know how to take swift action to ensure the safety of the public.

Perhaps the most important industry to have first aid training in is the care sector. The care sector is a crucial part of the health and social care system which plays a huge role in the wellbeing of people across a wide range of situations. Many people who require care are already vulnerable or more susceptible to accidents and injuries than others. This makes it even more important for them to receive the help they need should they suffer an injury. We have experience providing first aid for carers and first aid training in the care industry as a whole. We can make sure that your staff are well drilled when it comes to providing the excellent first aid training required to work in this essential industry.

How we can help

Here at Vital Workplace Training, we are expert first aid trainers who provide a number of courses which cover all aspects of first aid. Whether you work in childcare or you’re just a parent who wants to be prepared in case of a worst-case scenario, then we have paediatric first aid courses which can give you real hands-on experience of how to deal with first aid emergencies.

Those who work with the elderly should have undertaken first aid training and moving and positioning training before they even started, but it’s important to have refresher training and keep up to date with the modern practices.

First aid training in the workplace is also crucial. If you’re in charge of a large workforce, then it’s your legal responsibility to make sure that there are enough trained individuals who are qualified to administer first aid in emergency situations. By now, you probably know that simply having a first aid box underneath the desk is nowhere near good enough.

Or it might just be the case that you’re a proactive individual who likes to be prepared for emergencies at all times. Whether you’re shopping in a supermarket or on your daily commute, you never know when an emergency might occur and when first aid might be required to keep someone in a stable condition until an ambulance arrives. The benefits of first aid training are endless.

We operate across Essex, Colchester and London. We also offer specialised first aid training courses in Essex, Chelmsford, Braintree, Tiptree, Witham, Southend and Basildon. All of our courses are engaging, customised, knowledgeable and enjoyable. Whatever your requirements when it comes to first aid and training, we can help.

Speak to a member of our team

If you or your workforce require first aid training, then feel free to contact us for more information on our first aid training courses. Whether it’s for an individual or for a group of fifty, we can accommodate your needs.

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