We often get asked about the date of First Aid certificate expiry, and the response we give varies. Firstly, your First Aid certificate doesn’t quite ‘expire’, but it does need to be refreshed at regular intervals to ensure the information is current and reflects best practice.
The Australian Resuscitation Council, a panel of experts for the practice and teaching of resuscitation and First Aid, provides us with guidelines based on scientific evidence which we follow closely when designing our training. The Council regularly recommends the practices taught at First Aid courses change, in everything from CPR compressions to treating a snake bite, to ensure the best chances of survival. Just like anything health-related, new research and techniques are often emerging, at St John we’re at the forefront of this.
So if you’ve completed a First Aid course once many years ago and expect the information you learnt (if you can remember all of it!) to be current, you might be disappointed. Depending on the course and the reason you originally did your training, we recommend various renewal intervals.
When it comes to those who’ve done their First Aid Certificate for workplace purposes so they can act as the designated First Aider, there are guidelines regulated by the Government that must be followed to ensure the business remains compliant with the First Aid in the Workplace Compliance Code.
According to the Safe Work Australia First Aid in the Workplace Code of Practice, a First Aider is someone ‘’who has successfully completed a nationally accredited training course or an equivalent level of training that has given them the competencies required to administer First Aid’’. Without an accredited training course under their belt, the individual cannot call themselves a First Aider.
If you’ve completed the gold standard for the workplace, the Provide First Aid course (either 1 or 2 days), it must be renewed every three years to stay current, according to the Code. The 1 day option is the best way to complete your 3 year refresher, whereas 2 days is recommended if it has been longer than 3 years since you first completed your course.
As well as renewing the full certificate every 3 years, the CPR component should be renewed every 12 months, according to the Code. This is for good reason, as studies show that CPR skills do decline with time, as this graph demonstrates:
Provide CPR is a shorter course completed in 3.25 hours and covers the management of an unconscious breathing person, unconscious non breathing person and the use of a defibrillator. We find a refresher every 12 months boosts your ability to maintain the correct depth and timing of compressions.
Bearing our recommendations in mind, your industry body may have different guidelines that stipulate more regular intervals due to specific risks involved in your type of work. You should always check with your industry body to ensure you are meeting their requirements.
Given it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure their First Aiders’ certificates are current, keeping a log of the details of all First Aider certificate information will make it easier to stay on top of.
We’ve prepared this handy guide of when to renew:
If you’ve done a First Aid Course for personal reasons instead of workplace obligations, you aren’t required to update your course by any type of regulations or codes. However we do recommend the same renewal intervals as per the workplace requirements – 3 years for the full Provide First Aid certificate, 12 months for Provide CPR. You can of course complete a First Aid course as often as you would like, there is no maximum number of courses you can complete in a set period of time.
If you have completed the Parents First Aid course as a parent, guardian or grandparent, renewing the course with the arrival of each subsequent child you will be caring for means you will be up to date with the latest practices.
We know it can be hard to remember exactly when you did your training – months and years can blur into one another. But we try to make it as easy as possible for you to stay current by sending out your renewal reminders, either by email, post or SMS.
Being up to date with First Aid certifications isn’t just about ticking a box; it’s about ensuring you have the best possible knowledge and skills to save a life. At St John we believe this is only possible if every home, workplace and public gathering has at least one person educated, equipped and prepared to provide First Aid. The only way to be educated and prepared is to ensure regular training refreshers. After all, your colleagues or family members are counting on you to be there for them when they need it with the skills to save their life.