FAQs first aid
When planning events, you will inevitably hit the issue
of first aid provision, but understanding what form this should
take can be tricky. Keep everyone safe at your next event by
following this guidance from the British Red Cross...
Is there a legal requirement to have a first aider present at
every PTA event?
Event organisers have a duty of care to everybody attending, but
do not have to provide medical cover. They are, however, legally
bound to this duty of care and to keep people safe. So, where there
is even a minimal risk of injury, they need to ensure that they
have taken the necessary steps to respond to potential
How do we decide how many first aiders we need?
A 'needs assessment' should be carried out before any event goes
ahead. This should consider a range of factors such as the number
of people attending, what time of year it is, what activities are
taking place (for example, a high-contact sport is likely to
produce more injuries than a bingo event), previous casualty rates
and how close the event is to an A&E department. First aid can,
and does, save lives, and your level of provision should be
adequate and appropriate to your circumstances. Think about the
nature of your activities and how hazardous they are, the type of
people who will be attending (do any have known medical
conditions?) and the size of your event. For more information on
needs assessments, visit the Health & Safety Executive website. If your
needs assessment exercise indicates that you need a first aider,
you should ensure they have undertaken suitable training, have an
appropriate first aid qualification and remain competent to perform
When planning our event, are there specific health risks we
The industry has moved away from a 'checklist' take on events to
a more holistic approach to explore whether an event is safe or
not. If organising large-scale music and similar events, we would
recommend reading The Purple Guide, designed to help event
organisers manage health and safety. Look at all hazards and risks
involved, and seek to remove or mitigate them. The British Red
Cross offers expertise in planning events to make sure that
participants stay safe.
Should we pay to train PTA members in first aid?
If your needs assessment exercise indicates that you need a
first aider you should ensure they have undertaken suitable
training, have an appropriate first aid qualification and remain
competent to perform their role. Following a recent announcement*
relating to the skills of teachers to act in an emergency, there is
now greater emphasis on UK teachers receiving training to help
pupils with long-term health conditions. The British Red Cross
offers first aid training specifically designed for teachers and
staff who work in a school environment. You can choose an approved
course for nominated first aiders or a certified course for
teachers. The British Red Cross offers an online first aid course calculator. This will
help you assess your first aid training requirements and find the
right course quickly and easily.
We have over 400 people attend our fairs - should we pay for
external first aiders?
It all boils down to the question: 'Do you feel that your event
is safe?'. We would urge you to look at what risks and dangers
there are for people attending your fair, what type of audience
will be attending, and what activities they will be taking part in,
among other considerations. Speak to the British Red Cross to get
advice about your event, as first aid is the one thing that you
never want to worry about going wrong on the day.
What equipment do first aiders need?
In a school setting, you need a fully-stocked first aid kit
designed with children in mind, which complies with HSE guidance.
This might include:
- Wash-proof plasters
- Sterile gauze swabs
- Microporous tape
- Sterile eye pads
- Sterile dressings
- Safety pins
- Finger bandages
- Disposable tweezers
- Triangular bandages
- Alcohol-free antiseptic wipes.
Knowing how to use a first aid kit is just as important as
having one. All kits should contain a guidance leaflet specifically
for the treatment of infants and children. Ensure that expiry dates
are checked frequently.
If an event is outdoors then have blankets available. You should
also make sure that first aiders are contactable and identifiable -
high-vis jackets and mobile phones may help. Use a designated room
for first aid, giving privacy to those being treated. If your needs
assessment suggests you require external support, organisations
such as the British Red Cross can help. Their first aiders are
insured, DBS checked and trained to national standards, including
the use of resuscitation and defibrillators. They use the same
secure systems that the police, ambulance and fire services use, so
if necessary, can communicate with the emergency services swiftly
on their network.
The British Red Cross is the world's largest provider of first
aid. It provides first aid cover at events throughout the UK. It
has been delivering first aid courses for more than 30 years, and
is the only UK training organisation to offer a free online support
programme to keep you updated after completion of your course.
Visit redcross.org.uk to see the training and courses
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