09 September 2012

First first aid qualifications

After all these years I have finally become a responsible citizen. It took a while, but better late than never! You now read the words typed by someone with an outdoors first aid qualification. I had had capricious first aid training since my tender years as a girl guide, but I never received any structural training that actually lead to a qualification. And my confidence in my skills was concomitantly low. I hoped my membership of the cave rescue team would provide opportunities to do something about that, and that hope came true.

The secretary of the team happens to be a first aid trainer by profession, and he and his wife sacrificed a weekend to training those that wanted up to this outdoor first aid certificate. There were twelve of us.

We trained nine to six on both Saturday and Sunday. Long enough to let all this knowledge sink in! Repeating all I had already learned in the past years was very useful, and I had enough space in my memory left to also absorb the new stuff. And we practiced it all! We were assessing casualties, putting each other in recovery position, applying bandages, splinting (imaginary) broken bones, and whatnot. Quite a large part of it all was just being released onto casualties; it’s one thing to memorise things in a classroom, but it’s another thing to pick out the most relevant bits of what you have learned when you’re faced with a screaming and fainting person, and then putting them to practice without forgetting anything. And even the working together if a casualty is encountered by more than one rescuer is something that merits some training.

Two days isn’t really much when you think of it, but we covered quite a range of possible medical issues. To the extent that we were shown what to do with a fat, disabled, pregnant lady with a beard who was choking. You never know what you find down a cave! And at home I still have my first aid and casualty care books; just going back to these from time to time should help retain all that knowledge. I hope I never need it, but I’m glad I finally got me some medical skill!

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