This week sees me on first aid duty at Hursley.
As a site of 2500+ people, there is a regular set of qualified first aiders on a rotation system, meaning for any week of the year there are four employees assigned to cover first aid duties. This is on top of the site security team who are all first aid trained, the emergency team (again made up of employees) who are on permanent call, and the occupational health department. As a mainly office based environment the site itself isn’t particularly prone to a lot of what you learn to deal with during the training, but that doesn’t mean it is a responsibility to be taken lightly.
My initial desire to get qualified was as a pre-requisite to getting my PADI Rescue Diver qualification which requires a certified first aid qualification. Getting work to pay for it seemed to be a nice bonus. I’m expected to do two weeks on call per quarter, and receive a small honoria payment in return.
Being on call involves carrying a radio and first aid kit whilst on site (of course, it also means I can’t work from home at all that week) and responding to calls from security when somebody phones them to request first aid. Over the two years I’ve been doing it I’ve only been paged three times, and thankfully for nothing too serious. Only once has a call I’ve been involved with required an ambulance, and then only as a precaution.
As there are four first aiders on call normal procedure is to call at least two out for each situation, unless it is a trivial matter such as applying a plaster. You are also backed up by site security who handle any liaison with the ambulance service. We have to re-qualify every three years, and the site also organises a yearly training exercise led by Hampshire Ambulance Service.
All in all it is a very worthwhile thing to do, but here’s hoping for another quiet week!