The power of knowing first aid

Knowing first aid, even basic knowledge can save lives in an emergency. Siobhán Butler of ‘First Aid for Everyone’ who has trained people in first aid for the last 10 years knows this to be true.

The Irish Heart Foundation says; people are 10 times more likely to administer CPR if they have some sort of first aid knowledge. Siobhán explains “70% of us who know CPR will perform it on somebody we know, that means chances are it’s going to be an average citizen who isn’t a nurse or doctor - it’s going to be someone who’s completed a first aid course.” 


So, what’s covered in a basic first aid course?

You’ll learn invaluable skills around how to respond in an emergency, whether that’s a heart attack, stroke, treating burns, or performing CPR. Siobhán says “You’re better off to know and not need it, than to need it and not know.”


Examples of First Aid:


A common reason people book on to a first aid course is for knowledge around dealing with a seizure. First aid training will give you confidence to act in situations involving seizures. Siobhán explains “Either they’ve witnessed a seizure and just didn’t know what to do or they had one themselves, there are so many myths attached to people having seizures. First aid gives exact instructions in managing them effectively.”



When it comes to burns, like most emergencies, quick thinking can have a dramatic impact on the extent of the injury. Burns are one of the most common accidents that cause people to end up in A&E. “The first part of treating a burn is always cooling. Getting the heat out of the burn reduces the chances of it getting worse.” Siobhán explains. “Unfortunately, people start Googling and wasting time. The longer you leave a burn, the more it starts making its way down through your skin. This increases the pain and the risk of long-term scarring.”


What to do if you’re first at the scene of an accident

If you arrive at an accident there are steps you can take, explains Siobhán:

  • At a scene of an accident, you should always make sure that the area is safe and check for any other dangers such as traffic, or at home it would be things like wires, anything that could interfere.
  • The second thing is to check if the person is responsive.
  • The next step is to call for help, either get somebody to phone 112/999 or put your phone on speaker and make the call yourself. Even if you aren’t trained in CPR or first aid, the operator can prompt you on what to.

For a final piece of advice, Siobhán says, “If it doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not. You’re better off doing nothing rather than moving someone or doubting yourself. No matter what level of first aid training you have, stick with what you’ve learnt and don’t be afraid to step forward – it could save someone’s life.”

Source, Irish life Health, 2020. Cornmarket cannot be held responsible for content contained on external websites.