Without practice first aid skills and knowledge can fade

recovery position

Imagine the scenario: you completed your First aid at work training a year ago, but now a first aid emergency has arisen and your skills are called upon for the first time. Will you remember 100% of what you learnt on your training course? Probably not.

First aid skills fade has been a recognised issue for many years. Keeping up to date with first aid skills may not seem like a pressing issue when you’ve got so much else to deal with in the working day, however, in a first aid emergency every second can count. It’s important that you can recall what you’ve learnt as quickly and as clearly as possible. The national target for the emergency services is to reach 75% of medical emergencies within 8 minutes, but how quickly a casualty is treated in the first few minutes of a cardiac arrest can be the difference between life and death. For each minute that passes the chance of survival falls by about 14%.

Skills are best retained by first aiders when taught through practical training, such as a St John Ambulance Emergency first at work or First aid at work course, rather than lectures. However, taking a first aid course is just the beginning and should not be seen as a one off occurrence. Most first aiders find that without regular practice their skills and knowledge can deteriorate and experts recommend every 6 to 12 months is the optimal time for refresher training. Guidelines by the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation suggest that plans for refresher training must always be included for lay people learning basic life saving skills.

Watch our video about skills fade and how St John Ambulance can help prevent it.

Here are some ways to refresh your knowledge or practise your skills:

  1. Free or half price annual refresher course
    Take advantage of this offer if you have already carried out First aid at work course or Emergency first aid at work course with St John Ambulance
  2. Download our free mobile app
    The app gives easy to follow first aid advice on major and minor emergencies. Available for iPhone®, BlackBerry® and AndroidTM mobile devices
  3. Get together with first aider colleagues every few months to go discuss or practise an aspect of your first aid training.

First aid skills refreshment doesn’t always have to take the form of classroom training. In between face to face sessions you can keep your knowledge up to date with innovative new online earning methods like our first aid app and the fast-paced and fun Rescue Run game, which tests your first aid skills against the clock.

Remember completing a first aid course is just the beginning. Keeping first aid skills refreshed with regular practice is essential for confidence and quick response when the worst happens.

St John Ambulance offers first aid training and health and safety training at over 230 training centres throughout the country.

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