If someone were to be injured or suddenly become sick, would you know what to do? Certainly most people know to call 911 or the local emergency number, but can you do more?
While most first aid is “common sense” help, there are many treatments that have changed through the years as we learn more about what works and what doesn’t. For instance, many years ago people thought you should put butter on a burn. This may have resulted in some brief pain relief for the victim, but it actually made the burn worse. It also significantly increased the chance of infection at the injury site.
Maintaining current certification in First Aid keeps you up to date on changes like the one mentioned above, and allows you to practice your skills to make sure you are still able to adequately perform them. It also may help provide legal protection under your state’s Good Samaritan laws.
There are several companies that offer Basic First Aid Training. The three best known are the American Red Cross (ARC), the American Heart Association (AHA), and the Emergency Care and Safety Institute (ECSI). Certifications from all three are widely accepted. All three base their programs on the guidelines developed by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).
There are also several online companies that claim to be able to certify you without the need for you to addend any classes or skill sessions. Many of these do have excellent knowledge portions, but there is no substitute for having a qualified and authorized instructor coach you through a skill session. If you do choose to use an online only method, make sure its certificate is valid in your state and accepted by your employer.
If you truly don’t have the time to sit through traditional class, both the American Red Cross (ARC) and the Emergency Care and Safety Institute (ECSI) offer a blended learning approach. Blended learning students use self-paced, online training sessions to complete the knowledge portion of their chosen First Aid, CPR, and/or AED course, after which they attend a skills session with an authorized instructor. This skill session can range from half an hour to more than two hours, depending on which course, or combination of courses the student decides to take. While the American Red Cross online courses are generally lower on cost, their requirement to provide each attendee at a skill session with their own student handbook raises the total cost to equal or slightly more than the Emergency Care and Safety Institute program.