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First Aid Course Updates 2012

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All of the major providers that offer basic first aid courses change the course curriculum approximately every 5 years. In 2011, all of the major providers, including St Mark James, the Lifesaving Society, the Heart and Stroke Foundation and St. Johns, changed the first aid and CPR standards offered in all of the courses. All providers essentially offer the same first aid and CPR program and improve the program in unison within the same year.  Recommendations and changes are provided through large governing bodies such as the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR). This page will outline the major changes to the first aid and CPR program in the 2011 and 2012 year.


For decades CPR has been referred to as being as easy as A-B-C. “A” stands for airway, “B” stands for breathing and “C” stands for circulation or compressions. However, as the need to start compression’s earlier became a key recommendation, CPR was changed from A-B-C to C-A-B. The rescuers procedure changed to assessing the scene and victim, contacting emergency medical services (EMS), beginning chest compression’s and then alternating between ventilations and compressions. This change to the CPR procedure for all first aid courses was the most drastic implementation that the first aid providers have introduced in decades.

Compression only CPR

For years many first aid and CPR instructors speculated around the possible changes of CPR to compression only. This change meant that rescuers would no longer ventilate or provide artificial respiration for victims but would only do compression’s. The benefits of this type of CPR is its simplicity and strong focus on compression’s which is the main focus of CPR. However, ILCOR, the governing body on CPR, did not want to change CPR to compression only as the statistics for artificial respiration combined with compressions showed that it was the most effective.  However, if rescuers do not have effective barrier devices, are outside the workplace and are unwilling to do respirations via “mouth to mouth”, they are allowed to do compression only CPR. These techniques are all introduced and taught in all major first aid courses.

First Aid Protocol Changes

The major first aid providers introduced a variety of small changes to first aid policies and guidelines. This page will outline the major changes to the program. Rescuers are now taught that the use of ASA (acetylsalicylc acid / Aspirin) medication is recommended to victims suffering from non-traumatic chest pain such as heart attacks and angina. The medication can help reduce the clotting in the arteries and reduce damage to the heart. Rescuers should be aware of workplace procedures and policies with respect to medication administration. Rescuers should not substitute acetaminophen or ibuprofen as they can have adverse affects on patients with heart attacks or angina.

Further changes to the first aid course program include changes for the care of bleeding patients. The popular acronym “RED” was previously used to treat patients of deadly bleeding. The “R” stands for rest, the “E” stands for elevate and the “D” stands for direct pressure. Elevating the wound has been removed from the treatment procedures for deadly bleeding for several reasons. The benefits to elevate the wound are very minimal and providing pressure for the wound in a elevated position can be difficult. Furthermore, elevating the wound can also aggravate other injuries that could have also occured. For theses reasons rescuers are no longer recommended to elevate patients with deadly bleeding.

To learn more about the changes to the Canadian basic first aid program enrol in a standard or emergency first aid course. These course provide candidates with hands-on training and the ability to practise skills in demonstrations and scenarios.


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