5 main changes to first aid training courses due to Covid-19

Written by James Reed
Jan 20, 2021

James is a Training Product Manager at Red Cross Training responsible for the development and review of our training products.

As we continue to provide workplace first aid training for key industries during the current lockdown restrictions in line with Health & Safety Executive (HSE) an First Aid Quality Partnership (FAQP) guidance, what are the main changes that learners can expect when attending their course?

We asked James Reed, Training Product Manager at British Red Cross Training to outline the top five changes that his organisation is putting in place to re-assure learners and employees.

1. Health & safety at the training venue

People understandably will have concerns about their personal safety when returning to the first aid training classroom and the health and safety of both learners and trainers remains our highest priority.

In this respect, extensive work at each of our Red Cross training venues has been undertaken to ensure compliance with hygiene and social distancing measures in line with government and industry guidelines for Covid-19. This includes each training location undergoing a rigorous health and safety risk assessment to certify them as ‘Covid-19 secure’.

On arrival at our venues, learners can expect to see appropriate Covid-19 signage in the reception, training and breakout areas. We also provide alcohol-based hand sanitisers on arrival and in each training room and we encourage regular use of the hand washing facilities available at the venue throughout the day.

Each learner is also asked to complete their details on an individual Health Declaration form and confirm that they are not aware of any health reasons or other restrictions that will stop them attending the course.

2. Social distancing is the new norm

According to the First Aid Quality Partnership (FAQP);

“A training provider should design lessons to ensure that there is no close contact between students and/or trainers and a 2m distance is maintained. Sensible adaptions to training and assessment activities should be introduced to achieve this.”

The FAQP also goes on to say that the 2m distance can be broken for the purpose of assessment.

“Where close contact is absolutely necessary and it is teaching and assessment related to a situation where a first aider would be expected to wear PPE, PPE must be used.”

At Red Cross Training the seating in our breakout areas and training rooms is 2 metres apart to allow for social distancing on arrival and throughout the day. Floor tape is also used where possible to reinforce this distancing. Learner numbers on courses have also been reduced to permit this.

Whenever reasonably practical, social distancing will be maintained except for training and assessment purposes where it is necessary to come within 2 metres of other learners, related to a real emergency where a first aider may be expected to wear PPE, which will be carried out wearing PPE.

Necessary small group work is done within the same groups of 2 to 3 learners to minimise the number of people with whom learners come into closer contact with.

Where close contact is required for the purpose of assessment, each session of contact within 2 metres will last for up to 15 minutes, in-line with the close contact definition used by NHS Test and Trace. The number of such sessions will be based on the topics covered on the course, and the time taken for learners to achieve competence in these elements.

3. Greater use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

On all of our courses, we are issuing a face mask on arrival which is to be worn in all indoor communal areas.

Our learners are provided with a fluid resistant surgical face mask to be worn throughout the course and changed as required. The face masks provided by us must be worn by learners and trainers at all times throughout the course, except when demonstrating rescue breaths for the purpose of assessment and when eating/drinking, seated 2m apart.

Each of our learners is also provided with their own individual manikin to use throughout their course and manikin faces and lungs are changed between every course.

While gloves are available, they are not provided as mandatory PPE because regular and thorough handwashing is a preferable method of reducing the risk of transmission of viruses and bacteria. Viruses and bacteria can still remain present on gloves, and they are not shown to provide additional benefit compared with handwashing when the wearer is not coming into contact with bodily fluids. For more information on the use of gloves by first aiders click here.


4. More frequent cleaning

As mentioned, training providers should provide appropriate handwashing and sanitising facilities and ensure that all equipment and areas used by students at their training locations should be thoroughly cleaned before use.

Regular deep cleaning is undertaken at our training venues while all equipment, surfaces and toilet facilities are cleaned at the end of each day prior to leaving. The resuscitation manikins that we issue to individual learners are also wiped clean with hard surface disinfectant wipes at the end of each day while used face masks are bagged and stored securely within disposable rubbish bags again at the end of each day.

5. Some first aid skills will be learnt in a new way

According to FAQP guidance should ensure that.

“The first aid taught should reflect protocols that ensure the safe performance of first aid during the current Covid-19 pandemic backed up by a body of medical opinion and the Resuscitation Council (UK) guidelines. This must still include the teaching of rescue breaths.”

At Red Cross Training we have made additions to our first aid training delivery considering this guidance so learners can learn safely. The main changes relate to the checking of breathing and use of rescue breaths in unresponsive and breathing/not breathing sessions and the delivery of choking sessions. For more information click here.

Delivery of all other topics on our courses will remain broadly unchanged with consideration on how social distancing can be maintained on these activities as outlined previously.

Even during these difficult times, it is important for first aiders to carry on using the lifesaving skills they have been taught.

Ready to learn first aid or refresh your skills? Why not book a course today and build your confidence in learning the skills to save a life.

book first aid training course now

Topics: First Aid

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