I had the opportunity to do a first aid course - working with children it seemed a sensible thing to do, writes Peterborough mother of two Donna Steele.
Parents (and I include myself ) want reassurance when they leave their young ones in someone else’s care. Knowing staff are First Aiders and police checked helps that.
So last month all the staff at Tu Danse Studios spent the day with a lovely lady called Di from Fenland First Aid Services.
There were demonstrations, videos, lots of questions and answers and to be fair the day flew by.
She brought along a host of equipment- from bandages to dummies - and a belt which one of us had to wear while another practised the Hemlich manoevere - used when someone is choking. Lots of laughter followed, of course, especially when someone got it right and the “blockage” shot out into the air. Yes, it was fun, friendly, informal but ultimately incredibly interesting, informative and thought-provoking.
At the end of the day a pass and a certificate was just reward for our efforts.
In truth I thought that was the end of it; I would put the certificate somewhere safe, update my CV to say First Aid trained and hopefully never have to put it to into practice.
However, it wasn’t long before it dawned on me how important that day had been.
Now don’t get me wrong, I haven’t suddenly become the Fourth Emergency Service but it was beginning to feel like it (or I was just bad luck)as a number of situations arose - from a member of the church congregation feeling faint to assisting in a traffic incident.
It was only then that I reflected on what I had learned and how I would have reacted a week, month or a year ago. Would I have had the courage to step up to help or not for the fear of making a situation worse?
I also thought about what if a more serious incident had happened and something which had really stuck with me during the first aid course.
Di had brought with her a defribillator. She demonstrated how it was used, and why, and the difference it could make to saving someone’s life if they had a cardiac arrest - huge.
I don’t think people are aware that if you did find yourself in that situation and dialled 999 the operator would tell you where the nearest one was - and the code to open it.
What was incredible was how simple it was to use - open the box and it talks you through every step of the procedure- anyone could do it. That is of course, if they knew where to find one and weren’t too frightened at the prospect.
But who in that situation would feel able? Now I know what I do, I know I would.
Defibrillators can be found in all manner of buildings across the city,but how many readers know this? Perhaps there is a need for an awareness campaign?
PS. I haven’t had to put my new skills to good use recently but with my four-year-old now able to ride her bike without stabilisers, but not having mastered the art of stopping without collapsing in a heap, you never know...