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

As the Coronavirus situation continues to develop, we are now looking ahead towards the lifting of restrictions when possible, and trying to work out what the future holds for the world of First Aid Training.

Last Updated 22/05/20 13:45

Can I still do a First Aid Course?

At present, all of our first aid training is on hold while the restrictions due to Coronavirus are in place. This means that all public courses in May and June are cancelled. We will review the courses scheduled to take place in July and August as we get closer, and deal with the situation as it evolves.

First Aid is however an essential skill for many people and the HSE recognise that is important that there is workforce with trained first aiders. Therefore the HSE are not directing training organisations to stop delivering first aid training which is an approach we support. Therefore as soon as we feel we are able to run courses safely we will do to ensure that our clients can continue to work.

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

Unfortunately it is impossible to say. We are trying to be as realistic as possible, and hope that by July, courses may be able to run again using the precautions that we’ve had in place for the last fortnight. For some organisations this will be sooner than others. However, 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 until we feel that it is OK to do so.

Once courses are able to run again, there is likely to be a big surge in demand as people who’ve had their bookings moved are trying to catch up. For many of our clients, a first aid course is essential to their ability to work. We will look to increase our capacity as much as possible to enable clients to get caught up and return to work etc.

If you would like to book your organisation’s private first aid course for a future date, we are always happy to arrange these. Please contact the office as usual. Alternatively, please complete this private course enquiry form with your requirements and we’ll contact you directly as soon as we are able to run your course.

New Blended Learning First Aid Courses

We are in the process of developing a suite of Blended Learning style courses that combine online self paced modules, live online sessions with our trainers, and a practical assessment day. We hope that these will enable people 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.

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 continues for longer than the next few weeks (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 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 adding 3 months to the validity of certificates expiring on or after 16th March 2020.

You can read the HSE/DfE guidance for first aid qualification extension here. Note, this has recently been amended and now extends first aid qualification extensions to 30th September 2020 in England, with Scottish and Welsh qualifications to follow after further review.

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. Schedule your course with us, on dates that are the best realistic estimate of when we will be able to run it. (Again, this is going to be best guess, as no-one really knows!) That way your organisation can demonstrate intent to renew the first aider’s qualifications, and we’ll stay in contact as the planned dates get closer. We can then decide whether to run the course or re-schedule as required. As stated above, each situation will be different and we will assess the safety of delivering private courses on a case by case basis for the near future.

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

When we feel that it is responsible and safe to run first aid courses again, the best thing we can all do is follow personal hygiene advice and clean our hands regularly using soap and water or hand gel. And of course stay at home if feeling at all unwell.

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.

Resources and External Links

British Canoeing First Aid Extension : https://www.britishcanoeingawarding.org.uk/resource/first-aid-extension/

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