What is first aid training and what does it involve?

Now that may not be the question you woke up asking yourself this morning but it's still a pretty important one and we'd like to explain why.

If you woke up and the first question you asked yourself this morning was - 'why is the weather so horrible today?' you might need first aid before you get to school or work.

Did you know that with the UK's weather becoming more extreme, from floods to heatwaves, many people suffer from weather related health issues. People with first aid training at work are finding themselves helping with everything from heatstroke in public parks to hypothermia brought on by cold, wet shopping trips. In 2013 over 760 people died of heat-related symptoms during the summer heatwave - and many more were able to recover because of the quick thinking and first aid training of individuals who came to their rescue.

If your first question today was - 'why am I always running late?' then first aid training might be about to come to your aid.

When you're running late, so are other people. One feature of being late is that people tend to pick up their mobile to let others know they'll be delayed. This is probably a major reason that 1.4% of car drivers and 2.6% of other vehicle drivers were observed using their mobile phones while driving in 2009. Using a phone while driving is much more likely to result in a road traffic accident, so if you're dashing across a road at the same time that a driver is trying to text his or her boss, you might be very grateful for the first-aider who helps you recover from a near miss or gets you comfortable whilst waiting for professional assistance if you unlucky enough to be clipped by a car.

So, assuming you get to work, school or wherever you're going without incident, is that it for First Aid training at work?

No, because first aid training - which is the ability to help somebody suffering a sudden illness or injury - helps many of us without us even knowing. If you've ever seen an elderly person or pregnant woman being given a seat and a glass of water in a shop, you've probably just seen first aid in the workplace, and while that might not seem significant to you, it would be if the person fell or was ill and there was no first aider to come to their rescue. Would you walk on by? Would you feel helpless and guilty? Most of us would do one or the other, or both, which is why first aid training is so vital for society to function easily.

What is first aid training?

Anything from applying a plaster to full CPR counts as first aid and most countries have good legislation to ensure that specific training and equipment is available in the workplace to keep everybody as safe as possible. Training in first aid can be provided by a voluntary group or a specialist first aid training provider and up-to-date techniques and regular refresher courses mean that the first aider is confident and skilled so that we can all benefit from their training - whether we're the suffering individual or just the person who gets to walk past, confident that the first aid being given is of high calibre.

We think first aid is pretty important, and so do many of the people we train, which is why we'd just like to tell a little joke about first aid training to remind everybody where it fits into the bigger picture. A newly-qualified male first aider saw an elderly man faint in the street and dashed over to help. By the time he got there a beautiful young woman was kneeling down to loosen the man's shirt collar. Pushing her aside he said, "Don't worry love, I've just finished my first aid training" and set about checking the man's pulse.

After a few moments he felt a tap on his shoulder and turned to face the lovely girl behind him who said, "When you get to the bit about telling him he'll be fine where he is until you can call a doctor, I'm already here."