Training on defibrillators is to be included on the EFAW and FAW Syllabus.

The HSE has announced in the June 2016 First Aid eBulletin, that training on defibrillators is to be included on the EFAW and FAW Syllabus.

Changes to the Resuscitation Council UK guidelines on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in October 2015 mean that the HSE will now be revising the Emergency First Aid and First Aid at Work syllabuses. The revision will require all workplace first aiders to be trained in the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) from 31 December 2016, as the Resuscitation Council UK guidelines now state that the management of a casualty requiring CPR is to request an AED.

It is sensible to ensure that EFAW and FAW first aiders are trained in AED use as they are now available within many workplaces and public spaces. There is good evidence that the early use of an AED has a far more beneficial outcome for the casualty than if that intervention is delayed.

For employers this does not mean you have to purchase a defibrillator for your workplace, as the requirement for a defibrillator is still dependent on your needs assessment. Neither do you have to retrain all your existing first aiders as they will be updated in this skill when they re-qualify.

For those who deliver EFAW and FAW training, the change means that you should ensure that students are trained and assessed on how to use an AED from the 31 December 2016, within the existing timeframe allowed for the delivery of either EFAW or FAW training. The HSE has no objection if training providers wish to adopt this change before 31 December and of course, within the leisure industry, the use of AEDs has been integral to training for a number of years in many facilities.