The Association of First Aiders or AoFA is an association formed of members from all different walks of life, with one keen invested interest, First Aid. It consists of a large community of people from a range of medical backgrounds from First Aiders within the workplace to Paramedics and surgeons. The organisation was founded in 2011 and has gone from strength to strength increasing members year on year and providing more and more resources for the members within it.
Below are some details about the organisation, the mission statement and the rationale behind it.
'To be the independent authoritative body, representing and supporting a membership of all persons and organisations involved in the training, provision and practice of first aid.'
Rationale for the mission statement:
AoFA has the realistic potential to be the largest first aid association in the UK; this considerable membership and combined expertise will be used to hold significant authority and influence in the first aid and the medical arena. This bold statement is supported by research findings from the First Aid Café, the UK's largest first aid website community. It is expected that at least 500 members of First Aid Café will prime the membership soon after the launch of AoFA. The AoFA will be independent so that it is able to utilise its authority to objectively support and represent the views and needs of its members.
The association membership would consist of both individuals (e.g. First Aiders, AAP's, Paramedics and people interested in first aid) and organisations.
Organisations include: Training companies, first aid groups, Governmental departments, associated commerce etc.
The association will represent a variety of perspectives from differing involvements in the first aid and medical related areas. Examples are the individual trainers and training providers.
This covers groups with the ‘provision' of first aid. For example product or service providers and people who define the provision of first aid. i.e. occupational health and human resource staff etc.
Those members involved in the ‘practice' of first aid (i.e. first aiders)
Establishing a wide spectrum of members and groupings in the association enables AoFA to draw views and seek advice from all levels of the first aid arena. This in turn should increase the associations' authority and ability to represent a collective membership.
Rationale for the Association Commitments:
The ‘information network' will allow members to be made aware of and kept up to date on current issues affecting first aid. Members will be able to share and discuss such information through association organised networking, events, forums, publications and newsletters.
With AoFA being an independent authoritative body, any issues felt to be important by the association members can be taken forward and represented collectively. By utilising the membership network, all parties will have an equal opportunity to express their views, gain support and be represented by the AoFA. Two issues felt to be of particular importance to first aiders and medical practitioners are the standard to which first aid is being trained and how legislation is being implemented.
It is vital that AoFA makes it a commitment to encourage wider knowledge of first aid, so that more people are able to put the skills into practice when required.
An association commitment is for continual improvement of both teaching standards and the standard of first aid that is generally being administered.
This relates to the following commitment of having training brought to a standardised level, so that people are always trained to an effective level. Developing a set of standard certificates will support this.
The AoFA should not seek to be insular. Forming links with other associations and lead bodies offers mutual benefits to both parties in terms of widening expertise, increasing authority and collective bargaining ability.
It is important that the public are made aware of the association and recognise its insignia as a mark of excellence in first aid. To hold authority and be able to fully represent the views of its members, the association would be aided by a wider level of support from society. Recognition enhances the authority that in turn supports the aims and objectives of the mission statement.
Many members of the Association have raised the issues of fears over having litigation brought against them, whether for the training or the practicing of first aid. The association aims to provide legal support and advise to protect members in these difficult situations. This will give reassurance to members, so that they are confident to practice their first aid and assist those in need without fear of possible negative consequences to themselves.
Developing a socially supportive community is an important objective of the association. Currently many first aiders are operating alone, with little support. The association would create opportunities for first aiders from all over the UK to work together, share ideas, concerns and opinions, at the same time they can socialise.