I just completed a 3 day “First Aid at Work” course. It was one of the most important things I’ve ever done. And I want to take a moment to try to convince you to do one, too.

All parents should do a First Aid course.

Ever since my daughter was born I’ve been meaning to do a course. That was four years ago! But the reason I finally did one was because of work. I attend a lot of events as part of my job. Last year, someone took a turn and collapsed at the dinner table. He was ok, but no one really knew what to do. So when the chance to attend a first aid course came up I jumped at it. 

When I was younger I used to do lifesaving at my local swimming pool. But that was over 20 years ago and I wouldn’t have known what to do in an emergency these days. First Aid training helps you to think quickly on your feet. To act fast. To take action that will help to save lives.

My 18 hours of First Aid training were some of the most important that I’ve spent over the past few years.

For three full days a small group of us listened to our trainer Wendy in a hotel conference room. We went through the aims of first aid which are to: 

1. Preserve life.

2. Prevent the situation worsening.  

3. Promote recovery.

We started with emergency first aid to save someone’s life when their heart stops. Everyone’s heard of CPR, but we practised over and over until it became instinctive. It turns out that modern portable defibrillators can be used by anyone. Some pretty simple techniques can make the difference until an ambulance arrives.  

On days 2 and 3 we looked at other emergency situations, such as strokes, allergic reactions, choking; basically all the things you could encounter in a day-to-day workplace situation.
While this was primarily a work course aimed at work situations everything we went practised made me think about my family. I wanted to know what I could do to help my own family and friends if something happened to them.  

Practising resuscitation on baby and child mannequins was particularly difficult.

I couldn’t help thinking what if this was my own child. But it was really good to learn what to do, so if anything ever happened I could try to deal with it.

First Aid isn’t about becoming a doctor. 

It isn’t to diagnose everything that’s going on with someone, only to focus on keeping them alive and as safe as possible in time for an ambulance, or trip to the hospital or doctor. I don’t think I learned anything dramatically difficult, just some vital skills that will keep someone alive for long enough to get proper help.

And here’s the thing. Now I’ve done the course I don’t want to be one of only a few first aiders in my workplace. I want all my colleagues to do this course. And I want as many other people as possible to do it, too. These are important life-saving skills that can make the difference between life and death. If a member of my family ever needed help, I would want to know there is someone nearby who knows what to do. 

If we all learned a few important skills we could make a real difference in our society. 

I think if every parent went through some kind of training it would help to save lives as, let’s face it, children are particularly vulnerable to scrapes and worse.

I was lucky that my work allowed me to go on the course. Why don’t you ask your work about it, or book a course privately, or even just look up a few basic tips online such as the British Heart Foundation.