Almost anyone can learn the basics of first aid, but it is surprising how few people do. It is not just for medical professionals, or specially designated first aiders at work. You really never know when you might need it, and there are so many situations in which taking the time to learn this basic knowledge could save your life or that of a loved one.

If more of us learned first aid, it could also save hospitals valuable resources. This kind of training is not only about treating injuries – it’s about recognising the signs which indicate that a condition is life-threatening enough to call the emergency services and when this is not required. Many people, if they don’t have training, will panic and call an ambulance or go straight to A&E – potentially costing the health services millions each year.

It is pretty easy to go about acquiring first aid skills as there are lots of routes to take and most first aid courses take less than a day to complete. Organisations such as the Red Cross or St. John’s Ambulance offer first aid classes, so you can look at their websites or give them a call to find a training centre in your area.

Common skills covered in these courses will include emergency scene management, when to call the emergency services, signs of heart attacks and strokes, adult CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), bleeding control, burn treatment, hypothermia or what to do if you suspect head or neck injuries.

If you want to learn the basic skills on your own, or get a little training before attending a class, there are plenty of companies publishing certified first aid books or health and safety training manuals. Have a look online and you will discover a wealth of these. The one you choose really comes down to whether they have good recommendations from respected bodies such as the hospitals or universities. It also helps if you can get a first-hand review from somebody who has already used their guides and found them helpful.

However, first aid books should act as an accompaniment to a course, since it’s always good to get formal qualifications. If you don’t have the ready cash to enrol on a training course yourself, you could try doing this through work by volunteering to be a designated first aider. Many companies will regularly put employees through first aid training as a matter of course to ensure they maintain their health & safety standards.

Author's Bio: 

Chris Jenkinson is a UK based marketing consultant who works and writes for Safety Publishing Ltd a publisher of first aid training books.