First aid training - Covid-19 update

With the recent announcements on easing of some lockdown restrictions we are continually reviewing government and industry guidance, venue availability and customer demand to ensure we are offering the best possible Covid safe training experience.

Many workplaces have remained open during the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure that key work and services can continue, while many other employers are now planning their safe return to the workplace. This means employers need to ensure that first aid provision is available for those who are now returning to the workplace, and that it is still available for those who have remained in the workplace during the pandemic.

British Red Cross continue to provide training to help reduce the strain on the NHS and support workplaces with fulfilling their training requirements.

Updated: 23rd November 2021

How do we ensure our training is Covid-19 safe?

We have introduced a whole host of measures and processes to ensure the safety of our learners and training team. These measures are continually being reviewed as new research and guidelines become available so please check this page for updates.

  • We will ask anyone who is unwell with symptoms of Covid-19 to not attend the course.
  • All the venues we use have been assessed to ensure they are Covid safe. At some venues windows need to remain open slightly to increase ventilation and ensure we comply with the most up to date government recommendations. In the winter months keeping windows open can be challenging and we would advise that you turn up for your course wearing suitable clothing and are sufficiently layered up to help you stay warm.
  • Seating has been arranged 1m apart to allow social distancing on arrival and throughout the day. This allows us to run courses whilst still minimising face to face contact.
  • Learners will be provided with fluid resistant surgical masks that meet the standards required for PPE. Everyone attending the course, including the trainer, must wear the mask provided at all times whilst on-site and throughout the course, unless exempt*. Masks can be removed when eating and drinking whilst seated 1m apart, or when demonstrating rescue breaths for the purposes of assessment.
  • Face-to-face contact will still be minimised by only undertaking close-contact activities for the purpose of assessment and learners working in the same small groups where possible
  • We encourage regular use of hand washing facilities and provide alcohol-based hand sanitisers in each training room for regular use.
  • One manikin will be provided per learner. We have also significantly increased stocks of manikin faces and face shields and adhere to rigorous cleaning and sanitising procedures.
  • All equipment is cleaned regularly.

*An exemption to mask-wearing is permitted for any learners who cannot wear a face mask because of any physical or mental illness or impairment, disability or without severe distress.

What courses are currently available?

We continue to offer a range of workplace first aid and health and safety courses for those who are still in the workplace or are completing training in readiness for their return to the workplace.

Face to face training:

Due to the practical nature of first aid, it is not possible to deliver training or assess learners for a qualification remotely. Find out more about the measures in place to make training as safe as possible here

First aid at work (3 day)
Emergency first aid at work (1 day)
First aid at work requalification (2 day)
Paediatric first aid
First aid for adult
First aid for baby and child

Important information

Please be aware that:

  • Face masks (provided) must be worn by everyone attending face to face training courses (unless you are exempt*)
  • For the purpose of Covid-19 contact tracing, you may be requested to complete NHS Track and Trace at our training locations and comply with requirements of the venue

Virtual training:

Some of our courses can now be delivered via an online virtual training room as well as face to face in a classroom setting. Our trainers will host the session and ensure the training continues to be engaging and interactive. Ask for details:

Fire marshal
Mental wellbeing
First aid annual refresher

If you don’t see the course you need listed above, please contact our sales team by email or call 0344 871 8000 to discuss your requirements.

Where can you train?

We have assessed each of the venues we use to ensure they are covid safe and the environment remains fit for purpose following any changes that needed to be made. This included making sure there was adequate space for 1m apart social distancing, ample hand washing/sanitising stations, ventilation and opportunity for safe entry and exit paths for learners. Training venues will not be used unless they meet our strict Covid safety measures.

Training locations continue to be available across the UK and we continue to monitor the evolving situation to ensure that the adaptations to our training delivery continue to offer the safest and best possible training experience for our learners, as well as meeting government and industry guidelines.

Visit our where we train page to find your nearest available training location.

We continue to offer training at your premises but will need you to complete a risk assessment to ensure we are able to deliver covid safe training; this assessment will look at things like room size, ability to social distance, ventilation and what Covid Safe measures are available at your location. Find out more in our blog >

If you have already booked training or have any questions about the venue or course, please email or call 0344 871 8000

Training and assessment

Wherever reasonably practical, social distancing is maintained, however, for some aspects of the training/assessment it is necessary to come into closer contact with another learner.

When contact is unavoidable such as for assessment, session length is kept to a minimum with us working within the close contact definition used by NHS Test and Trace. The number of these close contact sessions will vary depending on the content of the course they attend.

From 22 February 2021, the HSE, Resuscitation Council (UK) and First Aid Quality Partnership (FAQP) have agreed that to accommodate the mandatory wearing of face coverings at all times (unless exempt*) the practice of rescue breaths may be temporarily suspended on adult only workplace first aid courses.

We believe that combining rescue breaths with chest compressions is best practice when performing CPR on someone who is unresponsive and not breathing which requires learners to briefly remove their face masks to practice the skill and we continue to offer this option if delegates wish to participate in accordance with current industry guidance.

We are confident the extensive safety and hygiene measures we have put in place mitigate risk however, we do recognise that some learners may not feel comfortable removing their mask to demonstrate rescue breaths in a classroom setting. If this is the case, they can choose not to practically demonstrate the rescue breaths**, and this will not affect the learner’s ability to pass the course or their certificate to be issued.

This position will be regularly reviewed by the HSE, Resus Council (UK) and FAQP as we continue to monitor transmission rates and government guidance.  For more information click here.

** Please be aware this option is not available for courses that include CPR on a baby and/or child, and learners must still demonstrate rescue breaths to pass the course. This also applies to emergency first aid at work-for working near water. The FAQP statement confirms the benefits of teaching rescue breaths to those who have a duty to provide first aid to these groups far outweighs the extremely small theoretical risk of transmission in the classroom whilst practising this skill.

Wearing of face coverings and masks in RCT face-to-face training

What is the difference between a face covering and a face mask?

Face coverings are made of cloth or other textiles. People are asked to wear them in public spaces such as supermarkets or when social distancing may not be possible, in some cases this is a legal requirement. Wearing a face covering helps to prevent virus particles spreading from the person wearing it to others. They provide very little protection to the person wearing them.

Face masks are classed as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). They are usually a fluid resistant surgical masks such as those provided by Red Cross Training on first aid courses, but could also refer to a filtering face piece (FFP) such as a respiratory mask. These types of masks provide a level of protection to both the wearer and others around them.

Do learners have to wear a face covering or face mask?

Learners will be provided with fluid resistant surgical masks that meet the standards required for PPE. Everyone attending the course, including the trainer, must wear the mask provided at all times whilst on-site and throughout the course unless exempt*). Masks can be removed when eating and drinking whilst seated 1m apart.

These measures are in place to ensure your safety, the safety of other learners and our trainer. As we are unable to verify the effectiveness of individuals face coverings/masks we do ask that only the provided mask is worn.

Do our courses include Covid-19 specific content?

Courses now routinely include information about how first aid can be performed safely during the current Covid-19 pandemic, following current guidance from Resuscitation Council (UK). Click here to read our blog, highlighting some of the additional first aid information that will be covered on first aid courses.

Do I still have to provide first aid cover as Covid-19 restrictions are eased?

The Health and Safety (first-aid) regulations 1981 explain that businesses should be carrying out a first aid needs assessment to determine what first aider provision and equipment is required. Most businesses will need to revisit the first aid needs assessment they had in place prior to the pandemic as it is likely the workplace, working processes and even the workforce within it have altered, e.g. some of the workforce may still be working from home, shielding or isolating.

You can find out more in our blog: Do employers need to review first aid provision in light of the Covid-19 outbreak

However, the HSE recognises that temporary arrangements may be necessary such as sharing provision with another business. Find out more in our blog or visit the HSE’s coronavirus page for more information.

How can first aiders protect themselves when using first aid during the Coronavirus outbreak?

Providing first aid to someone who is unresponsive and not breathing is crucial in making sure that they have the best chance of recovery. However, it is also important that you take measures to protect yourself during the Covid-19 pandemic. In order to reduce the potential risk of infection when giving first aid. Find out more in our blog >

How else can I get practical first aid advice during this period?

We have a number of resources available to help keep your first aid skills refreshed including:


Visit our first aid skills page for members of the public.

  • If you've attended one of our first aid courses, you can access our free online community Safe Hands that is designed to help you keep your first aid skills up to date.
  • Download our British Red Cross First aid apps available both on Apple Store and Google Play.
  • If your First Aid at Work or Emergency First Aid at Work certificate is due to expire, you can enrol on our online First Aid Annual Skills update course***
  • ***Please be aware that our online First Aid Annual Skills update course is not certified, but it can help you refresh your first aid knowledge

First aid for members of the public

We are taking bookings for face-to-face public training courses at the following locations:

This specifically relates to our face-to-face courses for First aid for baby and child and First aid for adults.  We will continue to monitor the situation and advise when our face to face public courses will resume at other locations.

However, there are still many ways that members of the public can still learn first aid skills without attending a classroom-based course which are easily accessible.


Learn with apps

The free British Red Cross First Aid app and Baby and Child First Aid app can give you first aid at your fingertips. Both apps are packed with useful videos, animations and tips, plus first aid quizzes to test your knowledge.

Learn online

Learn via our first aid skills page for members of the public. with videos and simple steps for a wide range of scenarios. You can also attend one of our free digital workshops to learn essential first aid skills.

What can a first aider do to help during the Coronavirus outbreak?

If you have been trained in first aid you may be wondering how you can put your skills to use to support people in the community and whilst at work during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. Find out more in our blog >