Coronavirus (Covid-19) and First Aid Courses, what can you do?

As the Coronavirus situation develops further, and restrictions are beginning to be eased, we are now taking bookings for first aid training again. Read on to find out more.

Last Updated 24/09/20 14:30

Can I do a First Aid Course?

After many months of saying no to this question, the answer is Yes, where circumstances allow

We are now able to offer Blended Learning format private first aid courses for Emergency First Aid at Work, and Emergency First Aid at Work +F (Forestry) to employers and other organisations. Other course types, such as Outdoor First Aid, First Aid at Work, and public versions of our most popular courses will be available soon.

When will I be able to do a face to face first aid course?

You are able to do a face to face first aid course now and we are currently running face to face courses across the country. These are run safely and in a ‘Covid conscious’ way, with robust Covid Mitigation measures in place. Feedback so far has been very positive, with participants reporting that they felt extremely safe through out the course and thanking us for our efforts in making allowing them to complete their training.

We have also managed to clear our public course backlog of students who’d had their registration postponed from earlier in the year. This means that working with carefully selected venues where we can better ensure everyone’s safety, we are running an almost full schedule of public Outdoor First Aid courses across Scotland too.

The situation is as ever quite dynamic however, and we are watching each Government update and responding appropriately. The latest restrictions to social and domestic gatherings have not affected educational or workplace environments, so for now we are able to continue. However, recent experience shows that the situation may change at any moment, and we appreciate your understanding with that if & when it does happen.

The first rule of first aid is to look after yourself, and we will always prioritise the safety of our trainers and students. We will not run courses unless we feel that it is OK to do so.

If you would like to book your organisation’s private first aid course now, please contact the office as usual. Alternatively, please complete this private course enquiry form with your requirements and we’ll contact you directly.

There are some new protocols that we have to now adhere to, in order to ensure everyone will be safe during their course. These are not overly onerous and we’ll talk you through the process as part of your booking.

New Blended Learning First Aid Courses

As mentioned above, we are in the process of developing a suite of Blended Learning format first aid courses that combine online self paced modules, live online sessions with our trainers, and a practical assessment day. These will enable some students to take their course sooner and in a more flexible way than a pure face to face course – never more important than in the near future while restrictions on personal contact continue.

These are available to book now, for some sectors. Please contact the office as usual to enquire about doing so.

I need to do a first aid course imminently to allow me to work, what can I do?

The majority of our clients do first aid courses because of some form of statutory or regulatory requirement, usually due to a Duty of Care situation. If your existing first aid qualification has lapsed during the lockdown period, or indeed you have just gained a workplace qualification that also requires you to hold an appropriate first aid certificate; the best advice we can give is to register for a public course from our public course calendar that suits your requirements.

It may be that the current situation deteriorates (no one really knows, and we have to be alert to the possibility of a second wave), and that course isn’t able to go ahead. We are prepared for that eventuality and we will be in touch to move your registration to the next available course that suits you. At least by doing this you can demonstrate your intent to (re)gain the qualification that you require, but circumstances beyond your control are preventing you from attending the course immediately.

The HSE and Department for Education have released a statement that is supported by the First Aid Awarding Organisations Forum. This details the guidance for the extension of validity for workplace first aid qualifications including Paediatric First Aid qualifications, effectively extending the validity of certificates expiring on or after 16th March 2020. Note, this has been amended and now extends workplace first aid qualification extensions to 31st October 2020 across the whole of the UK.

The HSE’s latest statement on First Aid qualification extensions is below (Published 23/09/20):

First Aid at Work (FAW) and Emergency First aid at Work (EFAW) certificates requalification

First aid providers have resumed first aid training and assessment. In some cases, there remains a back log or limited availability.

FAW or EFAW certificates that expired after 16 March 2020 can remain valid until 31 October 2020 or 6 months from date of expiry, whichever is later. All requalification training for these certificates should be completed by 31 March 2021.

To qualify for the extension, employers must be able to demonstrate that:

– they have made every effort to arrange requalification training as soon as possible and can explain in detail why they have not been able to do so. For example, they must show evidence that staff with expired certificates are booked on to EFAW or FAW requalification courses,  if requested by an inspector

– they have adequate and appropriate equipment and facilities to give first aid to any employee who is injured or becomes ill at work

– the level of first aid cover provided remains appropriate for their particular work environment

– the level of first aid provision necessary in high risk settings is fully maintained, eg in construction, agriculture, engineering and chemicals

This guidance now applies to employers in England, Scotland and Wales. 

There is no equivalent overarching guidance for Outdoor First Aid Qualifications currently as these do not fall under the regulatory remit of the HSE or DfE. However, the IOL and some Governing Bodies are beginning to issue their own advice on this, and we’ll add these to the resources section at the foot of this page as it becomes available.

The IOL’s statement is as follows: “In line with the above [HSE & DfE] statement, and the IOL Statement of Good Practice on Outdoor First Aid Training, the Institute view is that Outdoor First Aid courses should be treated in a similar way and a 3 month extension to the validity of Outdoor First Aid (1 Day), Outdoor First Aid (2 Day) and Outdoor First Aid (Advanced) certificates be available to these people able to describe clearly their reasons for delaying requalification training, and demonstrate the steps they have taken to undertake the training, if required.

My organisation needs to refresh our staff / club member’s qualifications imminently, what can we do?

In this instance, our advice would be the same as the above. We can now take bookings for private courses, with the availability depending on what type of course is required and what style of learning your organisation would prefer. You’ll need to be sure that you are able to provide a suitable venue in which the course can be held, and all Covid Mitigation regulations are adhered to.

Please contact the office or complete this private course enquiry form with your requirements and we’ll contact you directly to discuss everything with you.

What precautions have we been taking on courses?

We have been doing everything we can to minimise the spread of the virus, whilst ensuring that our clients and students can continue to receive life-saving training. 

First Aid courses involve a lot of interpersonal contact between students. We are always aware of preventing the spread of bacteria on courses and take many precautions as standards, such as using anti-bacterial hand gel regularly, limiting the sharing of CPR manikins to 1 manikin for every 2 students, using manikin face shields and wipes, and nitrile or vinyl gloves. 

As the situation progressed over the last weeks, we took further steps to minimize the interpersonal contact whilst ensuring the training we deliver remains of high quality. This included supplying our training team with extra consumables such as manikin face shields and manikin wipes to ensure they are well stocked. 

We have also adapted our CPR training session to avoid the sharing of manikins whilst retaining the 1:2 ratio and peer to peer learning element of the course that is so powerful. The Resuscitation Council UK have provided guidance, supported by Consultant Microbiologists from the NHS that the usual manikin hygiene practices we employ are sufficient to prevent the spread of virus, bacteria and other pathogens. Our redoubled approach to on-course hygiene goes a big step further than the Resuscitation Council guidance.

We have also initiated a new suite of Covid Mitigation measures for students, venues and courses. As mentioned above there is a new booking process that we’ll take you through which includes these and helps to ensure that everyone will be safe on their course, or practical assessment in the case of a Blended Learning option.

You might be interested in our Director Cory’s blog detailing his experience of how he is running Covid safe first aid courses at the moment. Its been a popular and re-assuring read for many of our clients.

Is the First Aid Training Co-operative office open?

Yes. Our cloud based office processes allow us to work from almost anywhere. You can call or email during office hours and we’ll be happy to speak to you.

In the meantime, stay safe, look after yourselves and your family. Respect the social distancing advice, and do what is best for you and your community.

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