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Old 17 December 2012, 08:58   #1
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RYA First Aid course - opinions please

I would be interested to know if you have done the RYA FA course and if so what for you were the highlights and which bits needed improving?

If you have not done one, is it something you are considering and if so what would encourage you to do so?

Thanks in advance for the help.
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Old 17 December 2012, 10:11   #2
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I should add that I am not after names of training centres etc, but the impression of the course as you found it. Thanks.
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Old 17 December 2012, 10:13   #3
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I've done it a few times now as per requirements for commercial operators. I loath it! It's very "dry", and I hate the bit where you have to resuscitate the doll in front of the rest of the group!!
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Old 17 December 2012, 12:35   #4
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I've never been so bored in my life, never again !
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Old 17 December 2012, 13:14   #5
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Harsh comments. not the most fun day, but fit for purpose? Its never going to make you a paramedic, but hopefully may make a difference in the absence of more experienced persons.

Didn't talk about stuff like bends which I felt may be handy. I wonder if a more commercialised version may be better suited to some?
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Old 17 December 2012, 13:42   #6
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ofc you cant blame the subject matter on its own. The instructor leading the course as a lot to answer for.
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Old 17 December 2012, 14:23   #7
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ofc you cant blame the subject matter on its own. The instructor leading the course as a lot to answer for.
We have to do the HSE 3 day First Aid At Work course & then the 3 yearly 1 day refresher. It's not the worst course I have to do & I always come out of it feeling that I know more than I did when I went in. The instructor makes or breaks any course. The one that ran my speed awareness course was a terwatt
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Old 17 December 2012, 14:33   #8
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Needs to be more marine specific including items such as;
  1. Hypothermia
  2. Sun Stroke and dehydration
  3. Crushing injuries
  4. Burns inc rope burn
  5. Chemicals (Petrol in the eye!)
  6. Head injuries
  7. Sea sickness

and as nearly every child is born with an asthma inhaler this could be a useful subject to cover in a bit more detail!

There should also be a bit more discussion on making the decision on whether to spend time patching somebody up or getting them to safety ashore. (I don't think there is an answer to this but a structured discussion is very helpful.)

Chris
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Old 17 December 2012, 15:47   #9
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I would have to agree that with what can be a very dry subject, it is almost purely down to the instructor, to make this subject interesting, interactive and enjoyable.
As an instructor for both HSE FAAW and the RYA course, i must say on some occasions when the students are on the course as part of there work and its being paid for by there employer they can have an uninterested attitude.
This is more common on the HSE course, however this can lead to all students taking less away from the course.

The key for instructors i feel is a good mix of real life experience in a variety of situations as well as knowing exactly what the students expect. Same for all subjects.

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Old 17 December 2012, 17:52   #10
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getting them to safety ashore.
Such as running a boat up a beach, car jacking a car and driving them to an abandoned hospital

(Sorry, in-joke)
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Old 17 December 2012, 18:30   #11
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I went on one earlier this year, was a lot more interesting than I anticipated (I prefer getting out on a boat to sitting in a classroom)!

That said, the instructor I rate highly and the equipment he had was awesome (the dummys were very hi-tech), we got to do loads of practical bits and all talked about our own real life experiences which added a lot in my opinion.

I'm glad we did it, whilst I don't intend to be a commercial skipper at any point, I would like to do my Advanced Powerboat, so it was necessary. That aside, I wanted both myself and Anna to have at least a basic understanding of first aid, just from a practical point of view, in case anything ever happened to one of us and no-one else was around.
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Old 17 December 2012, 19:09   #12
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Quote:
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Such as running a boat up a beach, car jacking a car and driving them to an abandoned hospital

(Sorry, in-joke)
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Old 17 December 2012, 19:15   #13
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Martin - I've not participated in the RYA first aid course, but I have sat through a lot of first aid training over the years. Here are some observations:

- The quality of the trainer is probably more important than the syllabus.
- Subject knowledge does not necessarily equate to good training technique.
- Its possible to become a first aid trainer having never put a plaster on in real life; that's not great; its a slightly bizzare situation - you wouldn't expect a powerboat trainer to never have driver a boat outside a harbour or a navigation instructor to never had used a chart outside a classroom.
- There is a huge difference between knowing how to put a bandage on an doing first aid.
- Doing first aid in a boat (or any other remote situation) is rather different from a classroom / office / city centre pavement where professional help is minutes away, other pairs of hands are probably not far away, and space is not usually a problem.
- Whilst inevitably short courses will focus on the most serious incidents (cardiac arrest, unconsciousness, major blood loss, fractures) but there are a number of more 'trivial' incidents which are relatively likely on a small boat - fish hooks in body parts; jelly fish stings; sand in eyes etc.
- First aid courses are very often taught by a series of mnemonics. DR.ABC and RICE may be worthwhile but nobody ever looked at an unconscious casualty and worked their way through "FISHSHAPED" trying to establish the cause. Very often there are a whole page of these 'taught' and they are either for the trainers benefit or to help students pass an exam at the end. If you can't explain how the mnemonic will help me treat a casualty it is probably being taught for the wrong reason.
- Participants will be there for one of three main reasons (i) someone else is making them [mandatory training requirement / employer etc]: often not that interested; don't really expect to use it ever; some of these are ever keen to show that they are smarter than everyone else and its all a waste of time. (ii) they genuinely want to know what to do in an emergency [perhaps because of some recent bad experience]. I'm guessing on an RYA 1 day course you won't encounter the worst type: "the ParaHeadache" - who wants to know how to do open heart surgery, tracheotomy etc - but beware many instructors fall into this camp. (iii) they just go to every course that exists. They have no real objective from the day and will be most interested in how interesting / fun (or funny) you make the day rather than what they actually learn or can use. Your anecdotes and jokes will entertain these people.
- you will inevitably end up using course participants to 'act' as casualties. Its a shame because 'trained' casualties (and makeup etc) add significantly to realism. If you want to run a phenomenal course where participants are properly prepared for the stress of real life crisis you would do this. If you want to meet the RYA requirements on a sensible budget you probably won't.

If you've got access to boats make them do the practical stuff at sea. It will help focus the mind on what is necessary - who is going to treat, call, drive, and where and how. You could certainly add real value by adding practical experience of getting a casualty out the water and even covering some key points on helicopter rescue.
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Old 18 December 2012, 03:14   #14
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Thanks for all the comments so far!

Polwart, your thoughts are very similar to mine. I did not even consider becoming an RYA FA Instructor until after I had many hundreds of hours of pre-hospital patient contact, my time on safety boats etc was not sufficient as far as I was concerned.

And the scenario-based training you describe (actors with make-up injuries) is something I am seriously considering as a 2nd day addition, that way people can decide if they want the experience it offers.

The more common minor injuries are certainly overlooked, perhaps by trainers with less hands on experience. The suggestions of rope burns, bends and petrol in the eye are all excellent ones, thank you again.
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Old 18 December 2012, 03:54   #15
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Don't forget concussion as a common boat injury. I quite often hear of people being clouted by the boom (a wafi only ailment I know).
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Old 18 December 2012, 04:33   #16
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Don't forget concussion as a common boat injury. I quite often hear of people being clouted by the boom (a wafi only ailment I know).
That was added in a few years ago, after the headlines were grabbed by a few nasty head injuries in the Solent.
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Old 18 December 2012, 05:44   #17
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I haven't done the RYA first aid training but hearing from some of you who have I agree with Poly.

Being a Divemaster and having been through the Rescue Diver course in warm comfy classroom sessions practicing on resusiannie and defibs gives you the theory but it is harder to imagine what it is like in practise. The practical element of the course such as bringing to the surface an unconscious diver and carrying out CPR in 2 degrees water while at the same time taking them to shore and getting them out of their kit really prepares you for what it would be truly like and how unrealistic kneeling on a nice soft carpet in a warm room really is. As you experience other factors that are not taught like how tiring it is on you physically and mentally as part of the rescue.

The theory but importantly the practical is key I believe and also regular refresher courses as best practices in CPR such as ratios of compressions and rescue breaths do change
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Old 18 December 2012, 06:18   #18
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The theory but importantly the practical is key I believe and also regular refresher courses as best practices in CPR such as ratios of compressions and rescue breaths do change
I could not agree more.

Another thing that would be worth practising is doing CPR as a team, one person doing over the head rescue breaths with a pocket mask (now a required part of the Cat C kit) while someone else does the compressions. This skill falls outside of the first aid remit, but it is the only realistic way to carry out good quality CPR in a boat while waiting for the rescue services.
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Old 18 December 2012, 13:47   #19
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And the scenario-based training you describe (actors with make-up injuries) is something I am seriously considering as a 2nd day addition, that way people can decide if they want the experience it offers.
CR, I don't know if it could be orchestrated so you could get "official" certificates for the second day too... (e.g. I think BASP do a 2 day course, so others may too).

Imagine DAY 1 - ticks all the RYA boxes [perhaps with a little hand on]
DAY 2 - completes the syllabus of the next level up [perhaps more hands on]. Or possibly gets you to refresher level (if thats still a 2 day course)
DAY 3 - gets it up to HSE level... with even more practical stuff. Although fitting all that in is not going to be easy - but you still get the RYA one to cover those who need that for 'sea' stuff. Bear in mind that normal HSE course will not include children etc...

That could tick a lot of boxes for people who NEED to do HSE for work and need/want to do RYA for pleasure or commercial tickets etc.
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