In the third of the series of blogs on ‘Starting A First Aid Training Business’, we’re going to look at Step 2 from of the steps in our first blog “5 Steps to Starting a First Aid Training Business”- ‘Get Kitted Up’.
The way that we like to think of equipment for first aid training is in three parts:
- General Training Equipment: This are required for the delivery of the course
- First Aid Equipment: For demonstrations, practice of specific techniques and refinement of skills
- Training Resources: What documentation will you need?
General Training Equipment
So let’s consider number 1 first, General Training Equipment. This is going to be similar equipment to that used for many different types of training and as such you may well already own, or have access to much of it. Everyone has different learning styles, and so teaching methods should include a variety of approaches, which need their own equipment.
Our suggested starter list is as follows:
- A data projector, or TV with which to show some images. Different courses demand different amounts of viewable information, but there is almost always a requirement to be able to show some images.
- A laptop or tablet from which you run your presentation or videos etc. Some trainers like to use a tablet, but it’s horses for courses this one, and may well depend on what you already own or are used to.
- A cable to link to AV equipment. An SVGA cable is simplest, but won’t allow sound, where as an HDMI cable will, if your other equipment will support HDMI. You’ll often need an adapter too, to link to your computer or tablet. Which ever cable you choose, buy a long one so you are not constrained in your room set up by having to be next to the screen or projector.
- An 240V extension cable. This is really helpful and again ensures you aren’t constrained in your room set up.
- A flip chart stand. There are many types on the market, depending on your preference and budget. They do get a bit ‘abused’ though being carted around from venue to venue, so a top tip is to retain the box that it came in, and use that to protect it a bit during transit. That way they tend to last a longer, and stay in better condition.
- Kneeling Mats and Roll Mats. These are important to look after your students and yourself. They also help to remove a perceived barrier to participation for some students who don’t like lying directly on the floor.
- Consider Transport: One thing to definitely consider however is transport. Flip chart stands, manikins and roll mats are quite bulky items and at the very least an estate car is necessary to transport them around, although many trainers opt for a van, particularly if they have other work equipment to fit in too.
Make sure that all of your electrical equipment is PAT Tested too, or you may be prevented from using it in some venues.
Some notes on Projectors:
Modern technology has improved data projectors enormously to the point that even very small ‘pico’ style projectors are fairly capable in a darkened room. However they are limiting in the size of image they can project clearly. Also, darkening a room isn’t always practical, or possible.
Larger projectors give a really clear image at whatever size you require, so are useful for larger groups of 24 students, where two courses are running together. However, they can be quite noisy, and hot! You certainly get warm standing next to one.
The main problem with a projector is that they need to be placed in the centre of the room, which some trainers find gets in the way. For this reason they prefer a flat screen TV, and they are increasingly used one our courses. They are bulkier to carry around, but take up less space in the room as they sit at the back, are clear in all light conditions, and aren’t noisy. A 32 inch screen is a realistic minimum size for a group of 12 students to see clearly.
Consumables Starter List:
- Hand Sanitiser. This is important to help prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses amongst students, and yourself, on an active course. Choose an alcohol free variety, and one that doesn’t dry out your skin ideally.
- Flip Chart Paper and Pens. This is again a choice based on personal preference, but always take a spare set with you as they run out at the least convenient of times!
First Aid Training Equipment
Now that we’re ready to do some training, lets consider the first aid specific equipment that we’ll need in more detail.
There are many different types of these on the market now, offering a variety of benefits. For years I’ve used the CPR Prompt manikins, which have proven to be fairly robust, reasonably compact and easy to keep clean and change lungs etc. Other trainers in our team use a Laerdal Little Annies, Actar D-fibs, and Prestan manikins however and each have their own benefits and drawbacks.
One thing to consider is the cost of purchase, but also the ongoing cost of consumables such as lungs for the manikins that you have bought – these can add up if you are doing a lot of courses. Also consider portability and storage, as some models are quite bulky, while some are much more portable.
The best advice for choosing manikins is to try and practice with as many different types as possible – see which you prefer. You are going to be working with them for a number of years, and they are a reasonable investment, so it’s worth doing the research.
A new requirement for training organisations in early 2017, as we now have to assess the use of AEDs on courses. Again, lots of different types on the market, and they can be expensive and bulky to carry around. Personally, I use cheap versions available on ebay as they are small and considerably cheaper than branded alternatives. This means I can have more of them, which in turn is better for students. Time will tell however how robust they are.
Bandages, dressings, scissors, tape, Epi-pen Trainers, etc
First aid equipment for practicing various techniques and treatments. This will depend on the type of courses you are planning to deliver, but this can mount up to a lot of equipment, particularly if you are delivering specialist courses such as Outdoor First Aid, or Forestry courses for example.
Props, such as fake blood
Some organisations also use various training aids in the form of fake injuries, fake blood etc. This isn’t something we do at the Co-operative as we feel its unnecessary, but you might want to consider it.
- Manikin Lungs. As mentioned, these vary according to your choice of manikin, but should be changed after every course.
- Face shields. For practicing CPR
- Manikin Wipes. For ensuring the manikins are kept clean between uses by each student
It all adds up to quite a lot of ‘kit’ when you think about it. There isn’t a huge cost to any of these necessarily, although you can spend a lot of money if you want to. All this equipment is available online, we like the following websites for our first Aid Equipment:
Creating Training Resources
The last thing you’ll need to consider is how are you going to resource your training? You may chose to go it alone and produce your own paperwork and certificates etc, in which case you’ll need a good quality printer that can handle a large volume of printing. You also may chose to produce your own slides and other resources, in which case you’ll need a lot of time, and reasonable IT skills. In either case you’ll need to be able to demonstrate that your resources are fit for purpose, and that your organizations’ Internal Quality Assurance process satisfies the HSE’s Due Diligence criteria for employers.
Alternatively you may chose to become a centre for an Awarding Body or other organisation, who tend to provide resources at a cost to you. At the First Aid Training Co-operative we provide all training resources for our trainers, and Internal Quality Assurance so that trainers can get on with training with quality resources!