Myth busting and fact telling.

Myth busting and fact telling.

This month I want to dispel some of the myths around first aid and pass on some first hand stories from students that I’ve been told over the years of training.


Firstly though, an update from the HSE.

Please read the information from this link. As you would expect, because of Covid-19, there’s been some changes to first aid protocols.

For all workplace information you can get from


Back to the stories. TV, a great media for entertainment and can be informative but please take note.

There are some real-life emergency programs which are great and you will see the professional emergency services striving to save lives. There are also TV medical drama’s which at best can be confusing and in some cases dangerous.

Three examples are from Doc Martin, Holby City and Casualty.

Doc Martin’s receptionist is part way though her first aid training. It shows her practicing her chest compressions on her boyfriend – which you should never do. If somebody is breathing, never do chest compressions it can cause their heart to fibrillate. Here's a short video of a new student learning to do chest compressions in the correct environment,

I’ve seen an attempt to use a defibrillator in a hospital situation through a tee shirt. That will never happen. To use a defibrillator effectively you should remove clothing and if the person is hairy, shave the hair off on the right side of the chest up by the collarbone and on the left lower side of the chest. The defibrillator pads show the correct placement.

The last one is more comical than a concern. There was a young male doctor checking the breathing of a young attractive lady with a stethoscope. As the camera pans back, you can see the ear buds are around his neck and not in his ears!

Older myths. Burns – never put anything on a burn apart from water, burn gels and or burns plasters from your first aid kit. Cling Film is also a great aid for burns as it stops infections and can be run under water if needs be.

Seizures - never hold onto the anyone who is having a seizure (also known as convulsions fits or epileptic fits). On the same note, never put anything in a persons mouth if they are fitting.

The moral of these stories – learn first aid from a professional first aid trainer and NOT from tele medical dramas or Dr Google.


From time in memorial we have been story tellers and I find the stories I’m told, first hand, by students interesting and very helpful as a teaching aid. It puts a real-life spin on the subject they are learning on the course.

Story 1: Recently a student told me a story when we were talking about barrier use (gloves and face masks). He works for a company that tests soils samples for contamination and structure. He was working on a site for a couple of days which was blighted by rain. He was given protective gloves, which he used all the time he was at the site. The problem was when he was removing the gloves – he kept putting his thumb under the first glove to remove it. The problem was in touching his skin with the contaminated glove, he got an infection and spent 8 days in hospital being treated. What should he have done? He should have pinched the glove on the outside just before the cuff of the glove and pulled it off into the other glove. Then slid his finger under the remaining glove (with the first glove in it) and pulled it off, not touching the outside at any point.

Story 2: This incredibly sad story was told to me twice last year by two students who didn’t know each other or me. In both cases they were eating in a restaurant or pub and somebody started choking. Everybody stopped eating and stared, a few tried inadequate back thrusts not really knowing what to do. The choking person didn’t really want help and just wanted to clear the choke by themselves. I guess they were feeling embarrassed and awkward with all that attention. They made their way from the main area still coughing. Some time later they were found in a toilet cubicle where the choke had gone from a mild choke to a severe choke, they had become unconscious and tragically passed away.

The moral to this story is to learn how to do back thrusts and abdominal thrust and never lose sight of a choking casualty just in case they do become unconscious and you need to commence CPR.

Story 3: I was teaching chest compressions and rescue breathing (CPR) and after I was happy with the students progress, I moved onto demonstrating the use of an AED (Automated External Defibrillator).

We discussed what defibrillators do, and how they do it, and what a fantastic life saving piece of equipment they are. I then went on to do the demonstration. At the end of the demo, one of the students was amazed as she thought you would have to read a manual before you could apply and use a defib. No, I explained, turn it on, listen and follow the instructions. The student was most enthusiastic about this and purchased one from me for a community allotment as it’s remote and a long way off road.

I could fill a book on the stories I’ve been told or the incidents I’ve attended over the 31 years I’ve been trained. First aid training is all about passing on skills and experiences, which I do.

Special offer: For a short time, I can offer the life saving HeartSine 350p defibrillator for £740 plus VAT whereas the normal price is £882 plus VAT. I will also give you a free preparation kit. The offer was for September but has been extended for a short time. What is a life worth?

Certificates: After you’ve completed your first aid course successfully, you get a certificate that lasts for 3 years. In the past, I checked them, signed them and then posted them to the students. From now on I will be sending you e-certificates, duly signed and with all the relevant information on.

Thank you for taking the time to read my monthly blog. If you need anymore information or advice please either email me at or call 07770 376497

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