Posted on: Wednesday 17th September 2014
Perhaps better known for his pioneering work in the field of oncology, Sir George Beatson also has a long history with St Andrew’s First Aid.
Born in 1848 in Sri Lanka, Beatson moved to Scotland when he was a boy and grew up in Campbeltown. He went to school at King William’s College on the Isle of Man then studied at Clare College, Cambridge, graduating with a BA in 1871. He then went on to study medicine at Edinburgh University and he received his MB in 1878 before moving to Glasgow where he began work at the city’s Western Infirmary hospital.
It was in 1882; just 4 years after Sir George moved to Glasgow that St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association was formed. The Association’s original aims were to teach First Aid, provide an ambulance service and teach home nursing and hygiene. Already a lecturer in First Aid classes for St John Ambulance Association in Glasgow, Sir George was appointed on to the Executive Committee and became a prominent member of St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association.
His involvement with St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association was considerable. He became Chairman of the Medical Committee in 1884 and went on to write the Ambulance Handbook which was published by St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association in 1891. The book was to become the standard textbook in First Aid and was still in use up until 1933.
Sir George took a great deal of interest in ambulance work and the provision of First Aid. He became Chairman of the Council of St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association in 1899 and Vice-President in 1902. Sir George’s contribution to St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association and to the wider medical community is immeasurable. His ground breaking work in oncology and the treatment of breast cancer has meant that two Scottish institutes have been named after him; The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre and the Beatson Institute.
Sir George received many honours throughout his lifetime and was knighted in 1907 for his work with the Red Cross. His work and the work of countless others, means that what is now known as St Andrew’s First Aid has a strong history in Scotland and the organisation has been providing generations with the highest standards in First Aid skills.
Sir George Beatson died on February 16th 1933; however his legacy lives on in both of the Beatson institutions and in St Andrew’s First Aid.
Posted on: Monday 15th September 2014
Operations Director Jim Dorman has worked for St Andrew’s First Aid since June 1997. He is responsible for training delivery throughout Scotland and standards of the courses St Andrew’s First Aid provides. In his role, Jim often travels across Scotland and Europe and is also a contributor of the First Aid Manual. Every month Jim will be contributing to our blog, giving First Aid advice and information. This month Jim will be discussing two types of First Aid training courses St Andrew’s First Aid supplies to businesses and employers.
Two of the many types of First Aid training courses St Andrew’s First Aid provides for businesses are the 1day Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) course and the 3 day First Aid at Work Course (FAW). The EFAW course is a 6 hour course and the FAW is an 18 hour course. Once a company has identified its First Aid requirements at work, following HSE guidance on risk and needs assessment, they need to choose the right training for their employees. This is where I am often asked to step in and give advice.
When I am speaking with employers, I always ask them to consider the profile of their workforce. For example, have they got anyone working for them who is over forty or anyone who has an underlying health condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure? Is there anyone who has suffered from a heart attack in the past? Conditions like these need to be considered. As you can imagine, the difference between a 3 day course and a 1 day course is pretty significant. One important thing which is different between these two courses is that although we teach people how to carry out CPR in both courses; we don’t teach people on the EFAW course how to recognise a heart attack. This is not through choice; the syllabus for each course is set and agreed upon right throughout the industry. So an employee who has only been on the 1 day course may not recognise the symptoms of a heart attack and inappropriately treat someone presenting with them. For somebody that is having a heart attack, what you want to do is get the pressure off their heart right away. You need to sit them down, assist them to take aspirin and calm them down whilst the emergency services are contacted. If that person’s heart attack then leads to a cardiac arrest and they suddenly collapse, it may only be then that the first aider who has been on the EFAW course would know exactly what to do. This is one of the very important differences between the two courses.
The other crucial difference to be aware of is that we don’t cover major illnesses in the EFAW course. So First Aiders who have been on the 1 day course might not recognise the signs or symptoms of someone having an allergic reaction or a stroke. Because of this, I am passionate that First Aid provision in the workplace should be optimised as much as possible. Where there are courses available to maximise the skills of employees, I would encourage employers to always take advantage of getting their employees as fully qualified as they can be. You never know what’s around the corner. Although there may never have been any history of accidents within a workplace; you can’t plan for the unexpected but what you can do is make sure your First Aid provision can cope with whatever situation may occur. The EFAW is a fantastic course and I believe that every workplace should at least have people qualified in this course. Nevertheless, where possible, I would always recommend that an employer book the more comprehensive 3 day FAW course.
Guidelines to help employers find out what their First Aid provision should be are available on the Health and Safety Executive website, http://www.hse.gov.uk/. However St Andrew’s First Aid have put together a First Aid calculator on our website which means employers can just type in some simple information from their needs assessment and the calculator tells them exactly what type of First Aid provision they require. The calculator is free to use and of course we have a dedicated team on hand to provide any additional or more in-depth information should you need it.
St Andrew’s First Aid has the most comprehensive list of courses available and they are scheduled throughout the year. These courses are all listed on our website but any if employer or group prefers for us to come to their location, then we are more than happy to do that as well.
We are committed to making sure that our training programmes are exciting, challenging and more importantly fun for people. We want people to enjoy themselves going through their training experience and come out at the other end with real life skills. We also provide them with the confidence to be able to react to any emergency situation. We are so confident in the training we provide that we also provide Associate Members Insurance. This means if someone trained by us provides First Aid treatment to someone out with their own workplace and that First Aid treatment was ever challenged; then our insurance would cover them.
Outwith the fact that there is a minimum requirement by law for employers to have First Aid provision within the workplace; I personally believe that First Aid is a social skill. Everyone in Scotland should be qualified as First Aiders; not only to help themselves but also family and friends and anybody else they might encounter who requires assistance. Because if you were in that position, you would hope that somebody would be able to help you.
St Andrew’s First Aid is committed to raising awareness of First Aid and ensuring we provide Scotland with the highest standards in First Aid skills. First Aid is easy; it’s not a daunting subject. It’s about having the willingness to help somebody should they need you.
If you would like any more information about the courses discussed in this blog then please have a look at our website or call us on 0141 332 4031.
Posted on: Monday 8th September 2014
When a serious accident occurs, administering fast and effective First Aid at the scene is critical. This is especially true when dealing with someone who is bleeding heavily. It can take up to 5 minutes for a person to die from a serious arterial wound. This is why it is so important to have the most up to date supplies in your First Aid box when an emergency takes place.
TraumaFix® Dressings are a new patent protected range of dressings available to buy from St Andrews First Aid. Originally developed for military use, TraumaFix® Dressings are quick and easy to use.
The TraumaFix® dressing allows for immediate application where a standard dressing could not be applied efficiently. The dressing has a mono direction layer allowing fluids to pass one way but not return to the wound. This enables greater pressure to be applied to the wound site and work to arrest the bleed.
They are highly effective at controlling a major bleed and are capable of absorbing over ten times their own weight in fluid which can mean the difference between life and death in an emergency situation. This unique bandage also allows for direct pressure to be applied quickly to the wound and is held securely in place with a Velcro style fastening. Being able to stem heavy bleeding quickly means any other injuries can be assessed and treated and the casualty can be safely moved.
St Andrew’s First Aid believes that no one should die because they needed first aid and didn’t get it. Acting quickly when someone is losing large amounts of blood whether at home or at work can make all the difference. Bandages like TraumaFix® are an inexpensive yet vital addition to any First Aid kit or crash bag.
St Andrew’s Operations Director Jim Dorman says:
“These dressings are a significant step forward in the treatment of trauma injuries. There are many scenarios where more effective dressings are required to immediately arrest a bleed. I am in no doubt that the presence of a TraumaFix® Dressing in the First Aid box would dramatically improve chances of survival in the event of a major bleed. This is a dressing that will save lives.”
TraumaFix® Dressings are available in a range of sizes and come with waterproof packaging. For more information on this great new product, click on the Shop link on our website.
Posted on: Friday 5th September 2014
As part of our series profiling volunteers and those involved with St Andrew's First Aid we caught up with Iain Cuthbertson who was recently honoured for 50 years service.For some people volunteering with a charity is something they do for a few years before their own lives become too busy with family and work commitments. However, for 69 year old St Andrew’s First Aid volunteer Iain Cuthbertson, volunteering has become a lifelong commitment. 2014 marks the 50th year of Iain’s service with St Andrew’s First Aid. So what drives someone to continually give up their time, free of charge for so long?
Well for Iain his decision to dedicate his life to helping others came at a very early age.
“I lost my father when I was 11 years old. He died of a coronary obstruction and after that I felt I wanted to try and help people,” says Iain. His father’s death meant Iain’s mother had to bring up three children on her own. Because of this Iain was instilled with a strong work ethic and had several different jobs before following in his brother’s footsteps and becoming a fire fighter at the age of 18. It was only a year later when Iain took the decision to volunteer with St Andrew’s First Aid.
The training Iain had already received from his employment with the fire service was a huge advantage when he began volunteering with St Andrew’s First Aid. The ongoing training Iain continues to receive at St Andrew’s First Aid is one of the aspects of the role he enjoys the most.
“It’s something I’ve always enjoyed,” says Iain. In the past I have been trained by some incredible people; some of who served in the war. I had and still have the upmost respect for them. You become like a family when you train and volunteer with people for many years.”
Iain is the Commandant of the Motherwell Company, a position he has held for over 20 years. During his time as Commandant he has worked with volunteers from all walks of life and has seen how the provision of First Aid has changed dramatically as technology and training has improved.
“In the past we didn’t have defibrillators, radio equipment or even the skills we have now. We have come a long way in the last 20 or 30 years. We have been saving more and more lives.”
Remembering to thank the volunteers from his Motherwell Group is something Iain makes sure he always does. He is a great believer in treating everyone within the organisation as equals.
“I would not ask my volunteers to do anything I’m not prepared to do myself,” he says. Like all the volunteers at St Andrew’s First Aid, Iain is passionate about providing first class First Aid and feels education plays a key role in spreading the message about just how important it is to be First Aid trained. He says:“The first aid message has got to be delivered to people at an early age.”
Iain see’s how volunteering at St Andrew’s First Aid can be a great stepping stone for people who want to pursue a career in medicine. However he is keen to stress that volunteering is also a fantastic way to meet people and learn a vital social skill.
Throughout his 50 years service at St Andrew’s First Aid, Iain has attended various different events all over Scotland. One particular incident he recalls was during a football match at Motherwell. A young man had a very bad stomach bleed during the game. Iain and another volunteer treated the man until he was taken to hospital.
“The boy said afterwards that he would never forget the help we had given him.”
First Aid provision at big events such as football games, mean that anyone who is taken ill or suffers an accident whilst attending an event can be treated immediately and has a much better chance of making a full recovery. Volunteering at any event, big or small, can often mean working outside in the Scottish weather so our volunteers often get a bit wet. It can be long and demanding work and requires a high level of commitment; something Iain has shown time and time again.
Of course it is not all hard work; there are few perks to volunteering with St Andrew’s First Aid. Over the years Iain has met quite a few famous faces and he isn’t afraid to name drop!
“I’ll never forget Prince Edward holding out his hand to me or meeting Sandy Lyle and Colin Montgomerie. I’ve even had morning coffee with Vijay Sigh and his wife.”
At 69 Iain shows no signs of slowing down, in a few weeks time he is taking part in a charity climb of Ben Nevis to raise funds for St Andrew’s Hospice. Although he admits he might not make it to the top; he is determined to encourage everyone else to reach the summit.
Through his volunteering with St Andrew’s First Aid and his years of service with the fire brigade, Iain has helped thousands of people. As Commandant of the Motherwell Group he has always tried to lead from the front and make sure his volunteers are well looked after and morale is high.
Chief Executive of St Andrew’s First Aid, Stuart Callison, says: “I would personally like to thank Iain for his many years of service and commitment to St Andrew’s First Aid. The dedication and hard work shown by Iain and hundreds of other volunteers like him are the life blood of St Andrew’s First Aid.”
So congratulations Iain and a big thank you from everyone at St Andrew’s First Aid. Here’s to the next 50.