As of 2020 First aid will become compulsory in schools across England.
First aid companies including us – First Stop Safety Training rejoiced last week at the news. Even better yet schools in England will be supported by the government if they want to start earlier. This is momentous, we now have the potential to train the next generation of Lifesavers. There are 30,000 cardiac arrest instances in the UK each year with only a 10% survival rate. In countries where first aid training for children is compulsory the survival rate has been proven to increase. Why wouldn’t we want our children to learn CPR? It is such an important lifesaving skill to know. As a parent wouldn’t we want our child to help us in a first aid emergency? Not just for our sake but for theirs’. We wouldn’t want them standing there feeling helpless. They would want to help and we should give them the training and knowledge to do so.
The decision to make first aid classes compulsory comes after Lord Kerslake’s inquiry into the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017 found members of the public tried to help the injured and dying but lacked the requisite skills. The inquiry raised concerns that people on the scene were “trying their very best in genuinely harrowing circumstances” but “did not appear familiar with first aid principles”. In 2020 all school children in England will be able to provide CPR treatment, understand the purpose and use of a defib and provide basic first aid treatment. Cardiac arrest is the most common killer in the UK. In a recent survey in 2017 it was found that cardiac arrest accounted for 28% of all deaths. Imagine having an army of first aiders who could potentially prevent a fatality by circulating the oxygenated blood.
Over the past year First Stop Safety Training have been teaching school holiday programmes, brownie groups, guide groups, cubs and Scouts basic lifesaving skills. The confidence they take from this workshop is outstanding. These children are now equipped to potentially save a life.
In Scotland our government will have a vote on whether to start training school children first aid in 2020. The Scottish Parliament have asked the government to pass a bill that will allow all primary schools to incorporate basic first aid. Scottish Parliament have also called on the government to provide funding in order to develop high quality teaching materials on what to do in common emergencies, as well as to establish training and support for teachers to enable them to deliver these skills during short, interactive first aid workshops.
The way that the workshop is delivered is key to keeping the children engaged. Learning first aid doesn’t have to be boring, it can actually be really interesting and fun. Children’s first aid works best when tailored to different age groups. All children can benefit from these workshops however the content needs to be varied depending on the age group. Primary school children can be taught the basics such as calling for emergency help, the importance of knowing their address, getting an adult to assist and dealing with small cuts and bumps and learning how to do CPR compressions. Older children who have a greater capacity for learning can be taught more in depth first aid treatment such as CPR and treatment for anaphylaxis, burns and bandaging.
Come on Scotland. Pass this vote in 2020.