What kind of first aid training should you take? This is a difficult question to answer quickly, but I will break down the more typical levels of first aid training in this blog.
First, you should identify if you are learning this to meet a work requirement or to feel prepared in the event of an emergency.
If you need training for your work, often you will receive the information you need from your employer. If you are looking to increase your confidence and ability, then having a further read might help you decide what is best for you.
The Different Levels of First Aid Training in Alberta
In Alberta, we have a few levels that are recognized by the Alberta Occupational Health & Safety, as well as some that are considered value added which are training outside of provincial oversight.
The common levels are as follows:
CPR with AED
Emergency First Aid
Standard First Aid
Within each of these levels, you might also have a sub-level as follows:
This means you might see a course that is offering Standard First Aid Level C.
How to read this, is the first part (the levels of training) explains the topics that have been covered in your training, where the following letter identifies the age range of persons you can provide care to.
Level A = Adults
Level B = Children/Infants
Level C = All Ages
The different topics within First Aid training
CPR - Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation is usually a half-day training program that focuses on immediate life-threatening concerns. There is where you will learn how to do Chest Compression, Rescue Breaths, Compression-only CPR, and team CPR. You will also learn how to apply and use AEDs (Automated External Defibulators). This is the machine you attach to the patient that might send a shock to re-establish a heart rhythm under qualifying circumstances
Emergency First Aid - This is often a 1-day course that focuses on the more likely topics that can create life-threating emergencies. This will include Choking Emergenices, Asthma and Allergy related breathing emergencies, bleeding and circulation emergencies, as well as CPR training.
Standard First Aid - This is often a 2-day course and includes all of the topics of Emergency First Aid and CPR courses. Standard First Aid increases your knowledge and skills by focusing on life-threatening emergencies as well as common injuries and illnesses. Some of the additional topics can include Bone, Muscle and Joint injuries, Head and Spine Injuries, Poising (Drug and Alcohol Poisoning included), Weather emergencies such as hypothermia and heat stroke and more. Standard First Aid is often our recommended training, as it provides the highest level of basic training to meet everyday issues. If you are working within the Security Guard industry in Calgary or Alberta, then this is a highly recommended course. As security professionals are expected to respond to emergencies.
BLS - Basic Life Saving. This course takes your basic knowledge of CPR training and builds upon it by introducing additional techniques like jaw thrusts, and equipment like a BVM (Bag Valve Mask). This is often a half-day course and is considered to be an add-on to core learning. For Example, you could have CPR w/ BLS or Standard First Aid Level C w/ BLS
What First Aid Training Should You Take?
Now that we covered the basics of the different levels of first aid training. My recommendation is to think about the types of situations you want to increase your skills and confidence.
If you are a parent or day home provider, I would recommend Standard First Aid Level B or C. The reason being is kids are always playing in several outdoor environments and sprained ankles and broken bones are possible, as well as weather exposure during summer and winter. These extra topics are only covered within Standard First Aid training.
If you work in an office environment, then Emergency First Aid might be all you need to manage your workplace risks and hazards. Choking in lunch rooms, strokes, heart attacks and similar risks might be your more common exposures.
If you work as a Security professional, I would recommend Standard First Aid Level C with BLS. This can help you respond to bleeding emergencies, drug-related overdoses, as well as common slip and fall-related issues. Standard First Aid would give you the highest level of training.
Outside of work-related requirements, there are no right or wrong choices. Any level of training will help you feel empowered and prepared. Have a look around at some of the different training providers and see what prices and topics best meet your needs. I would recommend not focusing on the lowest price, but focusing on value for money. Good luck in your training and stay safe.