Learning how to save lives
That was the first eye-opening nugget of wisdom on day one of the two day course I’ve just completed.
I spent a couple of days out of the office completing a Remote Emergency Care course, designed to give me some skills I will hopefully never need.
In my day job as a Financial Planner, I’m unlikely to come across too many scenarios where first aid is needed in remote locations.
Outside of the office however, as someone who spends a lot of time running, kayaking, and generally in the Great Outdoors, it becomes more relevant.
Most Saturday mornings I can be found at Cranleigh parkrun, either as Run Director, in another volunteering role or (occasionally) having a run.
Cranleigh parkrun has no formal emergency medical cover, so becoming a certified first aider is something I’ve wanted to tick off the list for a while now.
The other two events are both covered by St John Ambulance, but there could be times where I am first on scene with a person who needs medical assistance, especially for the Cranleigh Parish Boundary Challenge which covers some very remote areas.
And then of course there are the everyday incidents which can happen so easily; the trips, falls, breaks, cuts, burns or choking.
The focus of the course was dealing with incidents far from medical help with the minimal equipment you would carry while participating in or leading outdoor activities. The emphasis was on practical skills with plenty of hands-on practice including lots of outdoor scenarios.
Our trainer for the course was an experienced ambulance paramedic and expedition medic, with some incredible stories and experience to share.
The group consisted of volunteers from different organisations and several teachers involved in forest schools, a form of education which is becoming very popular in the UK.
We covered the core skills of first aid applied in the outdoors whilst also looking at major injuries such as broken bones, head and spinal injuries and hypo and hyperthermia.
All of the theory and classroom demonstrations were put into practice during a number of outdoor scenarios, including our final ‘test’ which involved three victims with some very convincing fake wounds.
I walked away from the course with more confidence that I could apply potentially life savings skills in an emergency, even one which occured far from help.
It was also a really useful reminder that stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something seemingly unrelated to everyday life is always a valuable investment of time and money.
For anyone who wants to brush up on their first aid skills, and especially those who have never received formal first aid training before, I highly recommend the course.