Richard Evens: First aid at work helped Alister save a life

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It’s fair to say that a trained first aider has often been the difference between a life lost and a life saved. In fact, at St John Ambulance we found that 150,000 people a year die in situations where first aid could have given them the chance to live.

We spend a third of our waking lives at work and first aid courses are the safety net which protects millions of employees while they’re in that workplace. But what about outside of the workplace?

First aid is one of the few skills you learn at work that can actually benefit your everyday life, at any time, in any place. That might be while you are in the office, at home, on the way to work or out with a friend. By providing your employee’s with adequate first aid training, you not only protect them in the workplace, but also outside of it.


Alister Fulton learnt first aid with St John Ambulance through his employer, thinking it might be useful to protect his colleagues. But in fact it equipped him with the skills he needed to save someone he loved. Thanks to his training he knew exactly what to do when his four-year-old daughter choked on a coin.

Ellie’s face was red, her eyes were bulging and her mouth was foaming. It was obvious to Alister that she was choking, so he gave her four back blows, in just the right place to dislodge the coin.

Alister said that after the panic had settled down and Ellie had gone to bed, he started to think about what might have happened if he hadn’t known how to cope. During the emergency he knew exactly what to do and was calm, in spite of knowing that the life at risk was his own daughter’s.

Without first aid training Alister might not have been able to save Ellie’s life – and the same can be said for a number of trained first aiders across the UK.

It’s really worth considering how first aid training can change the lives of employees, their families and the communities around them. What better legacy can an organisation leave than life itself, and the ability to preserve it?

Do you have any experiences where your knowledge of first aid has saved a life? I’d love to hear about your experiences here.

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About Richard Evens

Richard Evens, Commercial Training Director, St John Ambulance

Richard is Commercial Marketing Director at St John Ambulance, the nation's leading first aid organisation and market leader in workplace first aid training. Responsible for training programmes and educational standards, Richard has been involved in consultation with the HSE since the early development of new guidance for the content and structure of workplace first aid training. He has liaised widely with the HSE and other stakeholders to apply the collective expertise in first aid to the new guidance, becoming a board member of the First Aid at Work Council which was created during this process.

Before joining the charity sector 10 years ago in a retail development role for Oxfam, Richard worked in marketing and logistical roles with Shell and Total Oil. He lives in north west London spending time with his family, trying to keep up with two energetic young children.

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