Your boss has asked for volunteers for the next cohort of first aiders in your workplace. Are you thinking about putting your name down?
Deciding whether or not to opt for first aid training may raise doubts in your mind. Questions will surface such as "Why would anyone want to rely on me in an emergency situation?" or "What if I mess up or freeze during a catastrophe?".
All these concerns are understandable. One day you could be called to take someone's life into your own hands, so it's as well to take it seriously.
In this article, we will explore the arguments for the other side - Why you should definitely put yourself forward. After all, if not you then who else?
Your workplace needs you!
Depending on the type of job you do, there are certain health and safety considerations that must be implemented. Even if you work in an office or shop, workplaces that are considered by the Health and Safety Executive to be "low-hazard", your employer still has to make arrangements to ensure there is first aid provision in case of an emergency.
In low-hazard workplaces contracting more than 25 members of staff, someone must be chosen as the appointed first-aider and trained in an appropriate qualification. This can be through a First Aid at Work or an Emergency First Aid at Work course. You are, in effect, getting a really great freebie from your employer, so why not take advantage?
It can offer you transferable skills
Having health and safety training means your CV will stand out to future employers. Companies recruiting in any industry will see that you are a team player with a cool head and someone great to have around in a crisis. It also means you can show competence in other areas where you need to stay calm and communicate well with others. You are demonstrating your capacity to offer more to your workplace than just the job you have been selected for.
You will gain confidence
You will feel empowered knowing that you have been provided with the necessary skills to act swiftly in situations that require it, for example if someone faints or takes ill, you can put your first aid hat on and offer immediate assistance. There aren't many superpowers in real life, but that sounds like a good one!
You don't have to be superman
Although offering first aid is definitely a fantastic superpower, you are not actually obliged to be a superhero. Even though the idea of first aid may conjure up images from the TV show Casualty, you as the first aider do not have to do the job of a doctor or paramedic. You are there to save time and make sure the patient is as comfortable as they can be while you wait for medical assistance. Don't worry about doing the impossible, your training is enough.
It may just save a life
Once you have done the training, you may never need to use it, but if an emergency does arise, you could actually save someone's life.
Phil, who works in a car dealership, has been a first aider for over fifteen years and thanks to his training, he was able to assist when an emergency arose at work:
I was doing an inspection around [a delivery] car, and normally, the transporter drivers will have a chat, and he was quite quiet. I thought nothing of it. As I come round to the boot of the car to check it, I noticed that he was very quiet, and then when I looked, he was holding himself.
He was very silent and he was trying to cough but he couldn't really cough properly. I noticed that he had a sandwich in his hand, he must have bitten into some of it, and it had gone down the wrong way causing him to choke. So I lent him forward, and I hit him 5 times sharply on the back, but after about the fourth, it expelled the chicken and bread that had stuck in his throat.
I was quite pleased really, to have helped him. You just do it instinctively. You don't think about it, but later on you think "Gosh it's just as well I was there". It was just being in the right place at the right time.
The first aid training was vital because had I not had the training, I probably would have tried to look down his throat see what was blocking it, wasting time. [However] the first aid training instinctively kicked in.
Given so many positive reasons to take a first aid course, why not consider how it would feel if someone near you did require urgent assistance and you were not able to help them? It could be a loved one.