How Long is a First Aid Certificate Valid for?

How Long First Aid Certificate Valid For
It is recommended that all first aiders regularly renew their first aid certification. First aid techniques are not used often, and so your knowledge of them may wane over time. This could impact your ability to confidently handle emergencies.

Regular renewal of first aid certificates is recommended by experts in the industry.

The reasons for these recommendations are logical, and they are widely supported by both certificate holders and issuers.

If your first fid certification is purely for personal reasons and is not an obligation of your workplace, there are no regulations or codes that require you to update your certificate. In saying that, it would be worthwhile to take heed of the recommended renewal intervals, as you will soon see from the reasons listed below, under the heading Does First Aid expire?.

Does First Aid Expire?

First Aid certificates do not have expiry dates.

However, a first aider in the workplace is subject to Government-regulated guidelines in relation to their first aid certification. Workplaces follow these guidelines to ensure that they remain compliant with the First Aid in the Workplace compliance code. This code, in turn, guides employers on how to comply with their duties under the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act, which endeavours to safeguard the welfare of employees and other people at work.

According to Safe Work Australia, an Australian government statutory agency that similarly seeks to safeguard OHS, a first aider is a person “who has successfully completed a nationally accredited training course or an equivalent level of training that has given them the competencies required to administer First Aid”.

Depending on the individual needs of the workplace, an employer may require their employees to renew their first aid certification even more regularly than what is stipulated by the Government-regulated guidelines.

When it comes to completing first aid training for personal reasons, you can renew it as often as you like. It is perfectly reasonable to refresh your knowledge whenever you feel the need to, as there is no evidence to suggest that you can become "over-qualified" in first aid training. Likewise, situations that require first aid are few and far between, and first aiders can go years without using their first aid knowledge and skills. If you don't refresh your first aid training regularly, you could find yourself in a time critical medical emergency, desperately sifting through your memory for proper first aid technique instead of taking swift and assertive action.

What is a First Aid Refresher Course?

The best way to bring a first aider's knowledge into focus again is a first aid refresher course.

Not only do first aid refresher courses serve to refresh existing knowledge, they can complement that knowledge with new information.

Subsequently, when the need for first aid arises, first aiders can take confident and competent action in line with the spirit of any first aid effort.

When Should you Use a First Aid Refresher?

As we mentioned earlier, an employer may require their employees to renew their first aid certification more frequently than what is generally recommended, though this depends on the individual needs of the workplace.

If you are looking to renew your first aid training for personal reasons, you can do this as often as you like. It is perfectly reasonable to refresh your first aid knowledge whenever you feel the need to.

There is nothing to suggest that you can become over-qualified from doing too many first aid training courses.

What Will I Learn in my First Aid Refresher?

An accredited Australian first aid course focuses on learning how to respond to an emergency involving injury or sudden illness.

As such, you will learn the first aid procedure that can be used to address all emergencies, regardless of their shape or size - DRSABCD.

In addition to DRSABCD, you will be taught how to perform CPR on both adults and infants by imitating the procedure on a mannequin positioned on the floor. You will also use the mannequin to learn how to safely apply the conductive pads for Automated External Defibrillators.

There are a number of other emergency response procedures that you will be taught. These include, how to apply basic wound care, how to assist someone who is choking or suffering from poisoning, and how to assess the scene at emergency medical situations.

Your trainer will likely contextualise the above information by talking you through scenarios that are likely to happen in real life. This will help prepare you for the unexpected, as medical emergencies are likely to be unexpected. Head to our Resource Library for more details on what you will learn in a first aid course.

First Aid Can Change

Another critical reason for renewing first aid certificates is that the field of emergency medicine is dynamic. In emergency medicine, as with other areas of medicine, there are always new breakthroughs and advances, as well as new challenges that bring about innovation and change.

An obvious example of this is the Heimlich manoeuvre. The Heimlich manoeuvre is a type of abdominal thrust that was introduced in America in the 1970s by Dr Henry Heimlich, an American thoracic surgeon and medical researcher. The Heimlich manoeuvre was originally picked up by the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross as the preferred method for treating choking victims. However, in the early 2000s, both organisations heavily downgraded the use of the Heimlich manoeuvre in favour of back slaps and chest thrusts.

This is because studies showed that back slaps and chest thrusts were just as effective in applying intrathoracic pressure to the foreign obstruction. Likewise, they did not cause nearly as much damage as the Heimlich manoeuvre, which was proved to place casualties at a greater risk of perforation of the gastrointestinal tract and damage to the abdominal aorta.

Beyond this example, new products, medications, and knowledge are always emerging in the medical arena. Often, first aid treatments advance in line with these innovations, which demonstrates why regular first aid refresher courses are so important.

How Often Should I Refresh my First Aid?

The recommendations are:

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