According to the St John Ambulance, every year nearly 150,000 people die needlessly because no one around them knew First Aid. That's a shocking statistic. And more often than not, most of us haven't been anywhere near First Aid training since we were at school. Apart from the fact that techniques and advice may have moved on and developed, what in fact can you remember?
First Aid makes all the difference, and thousands of people a year could be saved if more of us had the basic training of what to do and how to stay calm. A look round the St John Ambulance website shows stories of people who have been saved by First Aid, and tragically those who weren't given the chance. There's a chilling set of still beautiful portraits on the homepage, apparently all of people - with their stories - who have passed away because there was nobody with them who knew what to do. Genuine or not, they push a stark message home.
There are other happier stories of people who were lucky enough to be near someone who knew First Aid when they collapsed or had an accident. It might be a stranger, a loved-one, a passer-by, a trained professional. It seems like a lottery, but the more of us that know First Aid and can calmly deal with any situation, the more people can be saved.
Certainly if you are organising an event it's essential to make sure there is someone on hand who is well versed in First Aid.
One of the obvious ports of call when thinking First Aid is of course the St John Ambulance. There are details on their website for courses in your area, free First Aid guides, plus general advice on First Aid and emergency medical treatment.
Many organisations or clubs run their own first aid courses, often getting in a member of the St John Ambulance, but there are also courses run at local colleges in Richmond, some geared towards personal training and some more directed at professional courses or First Aid for the workplace:
1 Day First Aid Course
St Mary's University College
Candidates will learn about and become competent in the following aspects of First Aid: Managing a first aid incident Performing initial assessment of a casualty Managing an unconscious casualty Performing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation Recognising and dealing with a casualty who is choking.
Richmond Upon Thames
Emergency First Aid at Work Certificate
1 Day First Aid Course
This course covers topics: responsibilities of the appointed person, action in an emergency, primary assessment, breathing and circulation, principles of resuscitation, airways obstruction, disorders of circulation, bleeding. It is awarded by NUCO.
First Aid at Work Certificate (HSE)
3 Day First Aid Course
This course covers topics: responsibilities of the appointed person, action in an emergency, primary assessment, breathing and circulation, principles of resuscitation, airways obstruction, disorders of circulation, bleeding, disorders of circulation, disorders of consciousness, wounds and bleeding, incident management, burns and scalds, bones, joint and muscle injuries, poisoning, foreign objects, effects of heat and cold. It is also awarded by NUCO.
Baby Steps are an independent organisation running infant first aid courses, covering baby resuscitation, childhood and baby illnesses and baby massage. They use venues across London, including Richmond, and also run courses in the comfort of your own home.
For more information, check out the Baby Steps website.
Knowing First Aid can make all the difference - literally to someone's life.
Silas Van Der Bas
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Silas Van Der Bas is a freelance writer and photographer with The Little White Studio.