Staff at North Wales companies have been given vital life-saving training thanks to a business group.
The course run by Colwyn BID, the not-for-profit social enterprise run by the local business communities, followed demand from members for help in ensuring that employees knew what to do in an emergency.
Interest in the First Aid Emergency Level 3 course, which is fully funded by BID, is so high that more sessions are now being set up for next year, said Colwyn BID project officer, Cheryl Williams.
She added: “Knowing first aid is vital, whether it’s the workplace or at home.
“Every company should have qualified first aid staff on the premises to deal with an emergency -it could be a colleague or a customer falling ill or injuring themselves.
“There is every increasing demand on our emergency services, and the first few moments in an emergency are vital. Knowing how to safely carry out CPR, use a defibrillator or stem bleeding until a paramedic arrives can mean the difference between a simple, quick recovery or something much more serious and life-changing.
“I’d hope that none of those who took part will ever need to use their new skills – but it’s good to know that they now have the knowledge to help, should the need arise.
“Our members asked if we were able to offer high quality, low-cost training, so we have put on these sessions, which BID has covered the whole cost of, to make them affordable for smaller companies. We were overwhelmed by the response and we will be organising more in the New Year.
“There are numerous courses such as manual handling, health and safety or food hygiene that BID can arrange, if businesses want. We can provide financial assistance towards the cost of the training course or host the course for the businesses if there is enough interest.”
The course is run for one day a week, across three weeks, and ends with a practical test and a short exam. Those passing gain a certificate approved by Qualification Wales.
Colwyn BID member Taffy Osborn, who runs Colwyn Bay Water Sports, was qualified as a first aider to trainer level but needed to re-qualify before his existing first aid certificate expired.
He attended the three day course and described how important being a qualified first aider was to his business.
He said: “We teach sailing, wind surfing and power boating to all ages and all our staff are first aid trained.
“It’s a vital skill and my team saved the life of a teenage girl at the All Wales Boat Show a few years ago. A 15-year-old girl was stuck under water for several minutes and was not breathing when she was pulled out of the water.
“We administered CPR and other first aid techniques and got her breathing. She went on to make a full recovery.”
He added: “In our business first aid training is vital. Being able to come to the Colwyn BID offices and join with other BID members to re-qualify has been a great way to do things.
“Plus, spreading the three days over three weeks means I’m not away from my business for too long, which is helpful. In addition, by joining with other BID members it means we are all making a substantial saving, which is clearly good news.”
Tim Watson of Grape to Glass wine shop in Rhos-on-Sea, who also attended the first aid course at the Colwyn BID office, said it’s a vital skill that needs to be learnt.
He said: “I haven’t had to give first aid to anyone yet but have helped a few elderly people who have fallen outside our shop – falls that had nothing to do with wine, I’d hasten to add!
“First aid is an important skill and coming together as Colwyn BID members, to make things easier and cheaper, makes sense.”
Paul Norris of Affordable Motors in Rhos-on-Sea attended the course and said, although he hasn’t had to give first aid, he is conscious of the potential for injury due to tools and machinery in the firm’s workshop.
He said: “It makes sense as Colwyn BID members to come together and qualify as first aiders together. It makes things cheaper and easier to manage.”
Rob Jones of Julia Jones furniture retailers in Mochdre said the course has helped him feel happier about stepping forward in an emergency. He added: “I’ve never had to give first aid yet but you never know when you may be called upon to help someone.
“I’d like to think I’ll now have the confidence to tackle an issue where first aid is required if I am called upon in the future.”
Also taking part the first aid course were Susan Breese and Sarah Nightingale of Rhos-on-Sea estate agents Bryan Davies and Associates.
Susan said: “We haven’t had any major incidents but you never know when something is going to happen. It’s better to be prepared and have the skills you may need.
“We do have a lot of elderly people walk past the office and we have seen people fall in the street. Taking the three day course, one day a week over three weeks is a great idea and means the business isn’t disrupted too much.”
First aid trainer Andy Thompson of Anglesey Training Services, who delivered the course for Colwyn BID and said: “First aid is not only a requirement in the workplace, it’s an important life skill.
“The three day First Aid at Work course is generally accepted as one of the most advanced first aid training courses most people will attend. The qualification is valid for three years, after which people must undertake a two-day re-qualification course.
“The course is predominantly practical hands on training, and the emphasis is to ensure that those taking part will be both competent and confident dealing with accidents and injuries in the workplace.
“After completing a practical assessment and two short, multiple choice exams, successful candidates will receive a Level 3 Award in First Aid at Work certificate which complies with Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981.”
For more information about Colwyn BID please visit www.colwynbid.co.uk