Our guide to first aid refresher courses


‘Oh, yeah, I’ve done a First Aid course – know all about it. I did one, well, must have been... good grief, almost three years ago.’

If that sounds familiar, then perhaps it’s time to take a first aid refresher course. After all, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends that all qualified first aiders should attend a first aid refresher course once a year. These are courses that are designed to ensure that skills and knowledge learnt during the first aid course are practiced and reinforced on a more frequent basis.


What do you actually do on a first aid refresher course?

As on the initial first aid course, you will learn how to deliver effective first aid treatment for a range of extreme medical emergencies, including unconsciousness, choking, bleeding, burns, heart attack, stroke, broken bones, head injuries and hypothermia.

And again, as on the initial course, first aid refresher courses are very practical, consisting of both practical and theoretical activities. You can expect to practise on life size human models of babies, children and adults. Having successfully completed the course, you will receive an updated certificate of attendance, which is valid for one year.

The course typically only lasts a few hours, but it provides you with the opportunity to update your practical skills and theoretical knowledge. This is important to ensure that you are up to date with the latest first aid guidelines. Usually candidates are assessed throughout the course and by a multiple-choice questionnaire at the end and they’re aimed at people holding a current first aid certificate.


A quick quiz on First Aid

1. At what temperature is a fever considered dangerous in an adult?

a) 37.8 Celsius   b) 38.3 C   c) 38.9 C   d) 39.4 C   e) 40 C


2. If someone needs CPR but you are not trained in CPR, what should you do?

a) lift the person's head

b) chest compressions only

c) do nothing and wait for trained help

e) rescue breathing only


3. What's the proper ratio of chest compressions to breaths in CPR?

a) 10 to 1   b) 15 to 1   c) 15 to 2   d) 30 to 1   e) 30 to 2


4. What are the ABCs of CPR?

a) airway, breathing, circulation     b) air, breaths, compressions


5. If chemicals have gotten into your eyes, for how long should you flush them with water?

a) two minutes   b) five minutes   c) 10 minutes   d) 20 minutes   e) 30 minutes   f) one hour


6. What should you do if someone is choking?

a) give them abdominal thrusts for five minutes, then five back slaps

b) give them five abdominal thrusts, wait five seconds, then five more

c) give them five back slaps and five abdominal thrusts


7. What's something helpful you can give to a person who might be having a heart attack?

a) a cup of coffee   b) an aspirin   c) a glass of water   d) a chest massage


8. If someone faints, should you raise his head or his feet above heart level?

a) head   b) feet


9. What's NOT a good thing to put on sunburn?

a) aloe vera sap   b) Vaseline (petroleum jelly)   c) moisturizing lotion   d) a wet towel


10. You have hypothermia when your body temperature is below ____.

a) 34.4 Celsius   b) 35 C   c) 35.6 C   d) 36.1 C


11. Your friend has been bitten on the arm by a venomous spider. Should you raise their arm above their heart or lower it?

a) raise it   b) lower it


(Answers:  1.d  2.b  3.e  4.a  5.d  6.c  7.b  8.b  9.b  10.b  11.b)


By Nick Kennedy

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