You need first aid cover. No matter what the format, audience size or location, where more than a few people have gathered together, serious consideration should be given to arranging some first aid cover.
Our example small primary school fete or sports day can probably make do with the first aid skills of the teachers. However, a larger event will require a more formal first aid presence In fact, your insurers may insist on a stated minimum level of first aid cover.
Working with your first aid organisation, you should undertake a specific first aid risk assessment. During this assessment you will consider every aspect of your event, including the number of people present, the activities undertaken, specific high-risk activities and situations. In doing this you will identify the hazards and risks and be able to identify the level of first aid cover required.
First aid staff
First aid staff at an event should not have other duties and responsibilities; their time should be dedicated to providing first aid cover. To make that completely clear to you, ‘your first aiders must not be marshals or ticket collectors, or have any responsibility and assignment other than being a first aider’.
Not everyone with a first aid certificate is qualified to act as first aider at an event; example holders of First Aid At Work certificates are not necessarily qualified to perform first aid duties at a public event.
First aid staff have to meet some regulations, including being over 16 years of age, be trained and equipped, be identifiable and be fit to carry out their duties.
In the UK approach one of the three first aid organisations (St John Ambulance, British Red Cross and St Andrew’s Ambulance Association) and be guided by their expertise and experience.
Most events and shows call upon the services of one of the three first aid organisations. Each organisation relies on the services of skilled volunteers, though arrangements can be made for paramedic attendance with support from St John (however, fees will be charged for their presence at an event). Remember that the first aid organisations have limited resources, so book early or risk having to move the date of your event because there are no first aid services available.
The local authority will probably insist that you have some cover from one of the voluntary services, supported where necessary by doctors and paramedics. You must not simply rely on dialling 999 or calling out paramedics or ambulances to treat any injury or accident victim.
Radios and equipment
If radios are in use, as a minimum provide the first aid control point or senior medical officer with a radio, so that they can be contacted quickly in an emergency. There would be a benefit if all first aid ambulances and patrols were in radio contact with the event manager’s office.
Where radios are used, you should agree a simple and easily identifiable and remembered call sign such as ‘Ambulance’ or ‘Red Cross’.
Ensure mat they have a map and thorough briefing on die layout of the site, so that they are able to attend the scene of accidents as quickly as possible.
First Aid staff must be equipped to do the job and that requires more than a couple of packs of plasters and a bottle of aspirins. Don’t get involved in this. Leave it to the experts and negotiate with one of the first aid organisations to provide cover. That cover will include the provision of first aid kits, ambulances and first aid tents etc.
Depending on the site being used, it is likely that the first aid staff will work out of their ambulance or bring and set up their own first aid tent. If possible provide diem with a substantial first aid room, with running hot and cold water and electricity. If the site is particularly remote, do the best you can, as long as you meet their stated requirements. Remember to try to provide a separate toilet facility, solely for the use of first aid staff.