How we raise the standards of first aid

How we are recognised as a standard setter in first aid by the Health and Safety Executive and and how quality is maintained.

Setting the standards for first aid

First aid has been an important tool in emergency situations for a long time and is constantly evolving. Our first aid skills are simple, easy to learn and suitable for anyone. The first aid skills taught on our courses are supported by ongoing global research, which aims to optimise the use of first aid to help people if they become ill or are injured.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) first aid regulations state that first aid training should be taught in accordance with current first aid standards guidelines on adult basic life support published by the Resuscitation Council (UK), and for other aspects of first aid, in accordance with current guidelines published by the Voluntary Aid Societies (VAS) or other published guidelines that are supported by a responsible body of medical opinion.

Recognised standard setter

As a VAS member, Red Cross Training:

  • is recognised as a standard setter for first aid by the HSE
  • has a reputation for excellence as a trusted provider of first aid advice.
  • course content is clinically accurate and educationally sound; it includes the latest science and is continually reviewed and evaluated. This ensures that the information provided will be current, easy to learn and recall in an emergency, giving you the confidence to step forward and help.

Is all first aid advice the same?

The Health and Safety (first aid) regulations 1981 are clear that the First Aid Manual should be a key source of information for workplace first aid training in the UK.

Scientific guidelines are complex, so using resources like the first aid manual can make information clearer. You should always check that the organisation giving first aid advice has robust procedures in place for staying up to date with first aid standards and that it uses legitimate sources of information.

First aider responding to a casualty

How is it determined what first aid advice to provide?

Our international first aid guidelines incorporate several different sources of information.  Evidence is shared between the different sources with the British Red Cross usually having sight of draft and unpublished findings in order to influence and prepare for changes. 

Voluntary societies

Red Cross Training works with other voluntary aid societies (VAS) to provide a first aid quality partnership for first aid best practice for the UK. Together the VAS represents a significant proportion of the first aid training sector in the UK and are the most recognised first aid standard setters. The combined expertise of the VAS is used to co-author the First Aid Manual which is widely recognised as the basis for most training providers first aid standards.

International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) 

Every five years, ILCOR release updated guidelines having reviewed the available science with experts in the industry, to agree on a single standard for resuscitation. Recently their remit has expanded to incorporate first aid skills which has helped shape and define the skills taught to first aiders around the world. This advice is known as Consensus on Science with Treatment Recommendations (CoSTR) 

European Resuscitation Council (ERC)

The ERC produces Guidelines based on CoSTRs which form the foundation for much of the advice given by Red Cross Training. The ERC's Guidelines for Resuscitation provide specific instructions for how resuscitation should be practiced and considers ease of teaching and learning, as well as the science.

How does Red Cross Training maintain the quality of its courses?

Our quality assurance plan ensures that we consistently deliver our training to a high standard to ensure that all learners on courses have the best experience.

Our team are ISO 9001 certified for the design and provision of first aid training courses, such as the 1-day Emergency first aid at work course, the 2-day First aid at work requalification course and the 3-day First aid at work course.

The training team

All of our trainers have an externally accredited training and assessing qualification, which is consistent with the HSE’s guidelines. They all:

  • have a current First aid at work certificate
  • are regularly audited
  • are observed and verified
  • attend workshops to update and maintain their skills.