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First Aid: Why it's Integral at Safer Edge

First aid forms an integral component of many of Safer Edge’s security course curriculums. Given that many of the people we work with are deploying to remote or hostile environments where medical care is inadequate or non-existent knowing first aid can be a matter of life and death. In the feedback from courses first aid is often cited as one of the most valuable elements of a participant’s experience.

In this blog we chat with Sylvia Niescior, one of Safer Edge’s first aid facilitators to explore more why first aid is so critical and what elements are most important.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m a first aid instructor with Safer Edge and I was a Registered General Nurse in the British Army for 27 years specialising in Accident and Emergency Nursing. During my time in HM Forces I served on numerous operational tours/conflicts including Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. Since leaving the Army I still maintain my nursing registration by agency work in the local Accident and Emergency Departments. Due to my vast, and varied, trauma experience I also teach on Close Protection courses and with Safer Edge. I also run my own now own successful aesthetics business in Hereford specialising in Botox, dermal fillers and chemical peels.

Why is first such a critical part of security training?

Many people we train work independently in isolated environments overseas and have little, or no, medical assets available. In such austere environments, it’s imperative that people know how to care for themselves and for fellow colleagues in times of need. Research has shown that if first aid is delivered within the first 10 minutes of a trauma situation then the outcome for the patient can be greatly improved. Regular and recognised medical training can ensure personnel feel confident to deliver this care. At Safer Edge, we ensure that we deliver the latest and most up-to-date trauma and medical emergency training.

What would you say are the five most critical elements of first aid when travelling?

  1. Be prepared and have a sound knowledge of first aid before going.

  2. Know your “medical rules of engagement” before you go. Know whom you can treat and whom you can’t treat.

  3. Know what medical assets (kit, clinics, hospitals, medical personnel) are in your area and what medical capabilities they have. It may be worth travelling further to a more sophisticated medical facility if your nearest medical facility cannot cater for a trauma patient. Also recce all safe routes to these medical facilities.

  4. Protecting personnel is very important – this doesn’t just include carrying gloves, pocket masks etc. but also vaccinations before deployment (Hep B, etc).

  5. Have a robust, fit for purpose medical/first aid kit.

What do you like best about teaching with Safer Edge?

The most satisfying element of my job as a first aid instructor is witnessing how the participants grow in knowledge, skills and confidence in the short time I have them. For many it isn’t what I have taught them, but more realise what they don’t know. Many leave the course and undertake further, recognised and certified first aid courses.

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