COVID 19 Dec 23 Update

With the recent Ontario Wide lockdown announcement we have carefully been monitoring what is, and is not, allowed to continue. At this time we are still able to offer in class training (with certain restrictions in place that we’ve already been adhering to).

As this is an ever-changing situation we will do our best to keep you up to date with the status of your course. If you are currently signed up for a course we will keep in touch with any changes but at this time all courses are running as scheduled!

If you need any information or have any questions please call or email.


Dan and Jo-anne

November 2020 COVID 19 Update

We are still offering First Aid Training through the Ottawa Valley and doing our best to get people into the course they need.

While regulations and requirements are constantly shifting and changing we are doing our best to keep folks updated on the current situation.With that in mind please see below the latest from WSIB and the Red Cross with regards to certification and recertification.

WSIB recently updated their policy regarding workplace certification. The decision from WSIB is to continue to accept expired First Aid & CPR certifications until June 30, 2021. This affects all First Aid and CPR certifications that would have expired after March 1st, 2020. Please visit for further details.

WSIB is still encouraging providers to deliver blended training where possible.  In conversation with WSIB, they expressed that they are encouraging individuals to recertify or take the full certification when safe to do so.  WSIB will recognize the online knowledge certificates issued by an approved provider until June 30, 2021. The full certification will be issued when the in-person classroom practical skills are completed.  

WSIB has suggested that individuals keep their expired certification as proof of certification in the interim.  Red Cross will not be issuing certifications with extended expiry dates.

Ottawa Valley First Aid will continue to provide updates and information as it becomes available. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to get in touch.


Dan and Jo-anne

October 2020 COVID Update

Just a quick update for those that were unsure what the status of Ottawa Valley First Aid courses are. We are indeed back and running courses in and around the Ottawa Valley! With direction from the Red Cross we have been asked to primarily offer Blended Learning Courses. This means you do 3 to 7 hours on online training (when it suits your schedule) and then attend a one day in class skills day. We’ve have now had many successful courses with this format. We are also increasing sanitization protocols, running courses with less people to ensure social distancing can be maintained and modifiying activities performed.

For those that required a Recertification during the lock down please see the release from the Red Cross Below:

In July, we shared our position allowing those who hold participant-level First Aid certification with an expiry date after March 1, 2020, to attend a recertification course. 

We have re-evaluated our position to accommodate the ongoing COVID-19 situation and the impact on in-person training. Participant-level certificate holders with certifications that expire between March 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020, can attend a recertification course but they need to complete their recertification by January 31, 2021. This extended window will allow those with expired certifications the opportunity to recertify as facilities reopen and training resumes. 

If you have any concerns or questions please let us know,


Dan and Jo-anne

Ottawa Valley First Aid

Covid 19 First Aid Update

COVID-19 UPDATE: In class courses suspended until further notice – Online Blended Training Available for Temporary Certification

Safety is a priority for Ottawa Valley First Aid. We want to ensure everyone is safe while attending one of our courses and because of this, as of March 17, 2020, all in class courses have been suspended. The Government and Public Health update our country about COVID-19 on a regular basis and provide best practices for us which we are and will continue to follow.

How to obtain certification during the COVID-19 pandemic

Recertifications: All certifications that expire after March 1, 2020 are automatically temporarily extended until September 30, 2020. We will continue to monitor this situation and provide more information if anything changes.

Full Course: We are still able to issue a WSIB Approved Interim Certificate through online training. This Certificate will be valid during Social Distancing Protocols, after this point in time you will attend your in-class portion and receive your full certification. Register for the online portion of our Blended Course and you will be on our list to have first access to classes added once restrictions are lifted and in-class sessions resume.

With the announced phased approach of reopening businesses please keep in mind the changing environment that we will all be entering into.

Thanks for all your understanding and patience during these unique times.

Dan and Jo-anne

Basic Life Support replacing the HCP CPR

The New Year has marked a few changes within the Red Cross course offerings. The previous HCP (Health Care Provider) level of CPR has been switched over into a standalone course BLS (Basic Life Support) that could include Airway Management and Oxygen Therapy.

This means that those that previously required HCP should contact employers or organizations to see which level of BLS you should take on your next course. Ottawa Valley First Aid has instructors that can offer all of the new BLS modules so if it is something you require let us know. If we have enough interest we can run the courses as required.

Who does First Aid help the most?

Many people think of a First Aid course as a bit of a chore that every couple years they need to endure…. They go to a class and the instructor ticks the boxes do get them certified. Too often people don’t really think it’s that big of a deal. They think, “Sure it would be nice to be able to help someone out in an emergency but how often does that happen?”

Everyone has different reasons for taking a course. One that people often overlook, and in my opinion is the most important, is to never be stuck not knowing what to do. This is why I’m always upgrading and keeping up to date on my skills. Being in a situation and not knowing what to do is a terrible feeling. This is why at Ottawa Valley First Aid we don’t just make sure you ‘tick the boxes’. We engage and entertain to ensure that our courses are the best you’ve ever taken. We make sure to help out are participants in whatever area they need to be confident and comfortable in dealing with emergency situations.

So who does First Aid help the most? I would say it’s just as much for the people who need help as those that are helping. If you aren’t sure how you would if presented with a First Aid situation maybe it’s time to certify (or recertify) so you never have to second guess yourself.

Red Cross still offering courses in Renfrew County!

Well it has been officially released that the Renfrew County Red Cross branch located in Pembroke is closing down. You can read the article in the Pembroke Daily Observer – ( for more of the details about the circumstances that led to this decision. So will there still be Red Cross First Aid Courses in Renfrew County? Absolutely.

Ottawa Valley First Aid has actually been the preferred Red Cross First Aid provider for the past two years, since the branch slowly transitioned out of offering courses themselves. We’ve been offering the same great courses throughout Pembroke, Petawawa, Eganville, Renfrew, Arnprior and other towns in between and will continue to do so. Folks that had called the branch looking to sign up for a course have been directed to us. If you have questions or want to register for a course you can contact us by  phone, email or our website (where you can book directly online) and we will make sure to help you get what you need.

While we are sad by the decision to close the Branch,  our goal is to keep the Red Cross presence in Renfrew County and continue offering the best courses in and around the Ottawa Valley.

Since we’ve previously run many courses out of the Branch we are actively looking for other suitable locations in Pembroke. While the location for an Ottawa Valley First Aid Course might change, the quality, fun and informative courses taught by fun, knowledgeable and experienced instructors  will remain the same.

Ticks and Lyme in the Ottawa Valley

Unknown-2The winter is slowly giving way to Spring here in the Ottawa Valley. The sun is shining and the days are longer which means the bug season is just around the corner. Bees, wasps, mosquitos and black flies get most of the attention in these parts but perhaps some of the most problematic bugs we need to be aware of are ticks.

Are there ticks in the Ottawa Valley?

Absolutely. Ticks usually hang out in longer grassy areas or in thick underbrush. While ticks are out in all of the warmer weather seasons, Early Spring and Fall are usually when they are most abundant. Some believe that ticks are becoming more and more common as we get milder and milder winters. Ticks basically burrow into your skin and feed on your blood. They start out about the size of the end of a pen and after they’ve fed on your blood for a bit they swell to about the size of your fingernail. While this is less than appealing, ticks themselves aren’t that big of a deal. The real problem is that some ticks carry, and can transmit to humans, Lyme Disease.

Is there Lyme Disease in the Ottawa Valley?

imagesAbsolutely. Even within a small circle of friends I know of several people (and several dogs including my own) that have been infected and diagnosed with Lyme Disease. Lyme is very tricky as there is sometimes a bullseye like rash that forms (but not always) and other symptoms are achey, flu-like feeling that may show up days, weeks, months or even longer after you get infected. It gets even more problematic as it isn’t easy to diagnose and there are some health professionals that don’t believe it is really in the area or a problem (get a second or third opinion if this is the case for you). So how can we keep ourselves protected?

Do Regular Checks for Ticks

To get Lyme you need to be bit by a tick that is infected (not all are) and it has to be on you for about 24 hours. If we can remove ticks before they become encouraged in blood we are probably in the clear. If you are in tick areas wear long sleeves and pants and tuck them into your boots. Stay away from tall, grassy areas and stay in the middle of trails. Check after walks for ticks on you (and your pets) and brush or comb them away before they become attached. If they are already attached, while there are many methods for removal, using a pair of tweezers is very effective. The trick is to grasp the tick as close to the skin as you can and hold with just to enough pressure to have a grip on the tick. Pull very slowly (until the skin tents) and wait until the tick releases. Avoid twisting or ripping it quickly as you may rip the tick in half with the head still lodged in you. Watch for signs of infection and if you are at all concerned about Lyme contact a health professional and be very wary if any of the symptoms start to appear.

Some areas have more ticks than others. I probably see on average one or two ticks on my dogs in year but other areas will have dozens of ticks on them every time they wander in the woods. Be vigilant, and aware, and we can minimize our chances of having any long term issues down the road.

Worried about doing the wrong thing in an emergency? These 3 things ensure you won’t!

imagesI teach a lot of First Aid and CPR courses in and around the Ottawa Valley – from Arnprior, Renfrew, Pembroke, Deep River to Eganville. It doesn’t matter if I have a class of 6 or 16, young or old, if they want to be there or have to be there, I have one goal for everyone that takes a course with Ottawa Valley First Aid – To leave knowing that, in any emergency situation, they can, and will, do the right thing. And what do I teach to make sure this happens? I always tell people to run things through the list that the Red Cross labels as “The First Aiders Role”.

The First Aiders Role

  1. Recognize the Emergency
  2. Call EMS/911
  3. Act according to your skills, knowledge and comfort level.

That’s it. So let’s walk through how it plays out in the real world. Let’s say you are driving on Highway 17 and see a car suddenly swerve and slam into the ditch at high speed (you realize that is bad). You find a safe place to pull over and quickly call EMS/911 on your cell phone (so you just did #1 and #2). Even if you do nothing else you’ve greatly helped this situation! You are trained in First Aid and after looking to ensure there are no hazards you approach a man lying on the side of the road. This is the point where most folks get a bit ‘uneasy’ about doing ‘stuff’. They don’t want to make things worse or doing something wrong. But here is the good news. As long as you act according to you skills, knowledge and comfort level you won’t do the wrong thing! If you are debating if you should or shouldn’t do something run it through the lens of point #3. If you are skilled enough, knowledgable and comfortable doing something you do it. If your idea doesn’t pass those three points you don’t! It sounds pretty simple but it works.

So this is my approach to emergencies and it has served me very well (unfortunately multiple times) throughout life. I made the decision to take a Standard First Aid and CPR course when I was in my teens because I wanted to be more skilled, knowledgeable and comfortable in situations. It’s a great course to start out with but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. The more training and knowledge you gain the more situations you’ll be able to say ‘yes I can do this’. And that is a great feeling.

There are lots of First Aid companies and training opportunities out there, but they aren’t all the same. If you value the knowledge and confidence more than the card, then we look forward to helping with that.