Comprehensive First Aid Training May 2018

Instructors Simon and Veronica

Story by Diana Smith attending the First Aid Training in Kaikohe, May 2018

If it were up to me, Triple One Care First Aid courses would be awarded a Triple A Star badge to sew on its sleeve! That's what I would award Simon after attending his two day First Aid in the Workplace course.

Simon's key message is, in the words of Lord Baden Powell, founder of the Scouting movement, 'Be Prepared'. Be prepared for an emergency with up-to-date first aid skills and fit for purpose resources. Many of us on the course were surprised to discover that quite a lot we thought we knew had changed. No more improvisation!

In: Organised Emergency Plan with location GPS coordinates, nearest defibrillator and other relevant info, Out: mad panic to find phone numbers, guessing how far along the Karikari peninsula you are, frantic search for defibrillators...

In: CPR now 30 quick and firm compressions to 2 breaths, Out: Compressions in time to 'Staying Alive, uh, uh, uh, uh ... ( too slow) and so much more.

Instantly, Simon made us feel at ease with his sense of fun and friendly banter. He cleverly introduced an element of competition and as we were teamed up randomly we soon got to know each other. We were encouraged to learn by our mistakes with a healthy dollop of good humour thrown in.

A combination of Simon's paramedic experiences, real life video footage, demonstrations and hands on activities kept things lively. We were actively involved in our learning and time just flew by. When he related incidents he'd attended he held us in the palm of his hand, none of the fidgeting, coughing or surreptitious phone checking that often occurs on courses. We liked and respected Simon, he liked and respected us. We wanted to learn. We did!

We learnt how to identify, prioritise and treat life threatening injuries. We practised CPR on adult, child and infant size dolls, and used something that I'd seen on TV programmes but not in real life, a defibrillator. What an amazing piece of tech, it actually speaks and tells you what to do! 'I have a defibrillator and I'm not afraid to use it' (Well, I haven't actually got one, but I know where the nearest one is now, thanks to my phone app AED)

As with all courses there was assessment, but Simon made this completely non-threatening - we marked each other using guidelines from our booklets. I loved acting out the scenarios he gave us. One team had to identify and treat the injuries of a man in a car 'accident'. Apologies to Simon's colleague who was the 'casualty', but he was a large man, stuck in a small car! How to get him out to treat him without a tin opener or crane?! Team Adele scored many points for asking the just about 'conscious' victim to get out of the vehicle by himself. Seems obvious? But maybe not in a stressful situation.

I returned home with red marker pen 'wounds' and 'burns' up my arms and reflected on how much I didn't know, or had forgotten, before the course. I even know how to hold a fire extinguisher properly (horizontally to mix the powder and compressed air). That evening I added two apps to my phone. GoodSam, a community of lifesavers - doctors, nurses, paramedics in our neighbourhood we can call in an emergency, and an AED app which maps defibrillators in your area. I would wholeheartedly recommend attending a Triple One Care First Aid course, not only do I now own an Israeli roller bandage and packs of burn gel, but I am armed with the confidence and knowledge that if faced with a life threatening injury I would be able to administer first aid and pass on vital info to the Emergency services.

Volunteer Northland organises these training sessions which are partially funded by Foundation North and a number of gaming trusts. Training is available for volunteer and paid staff from non-profit organisations in Northland. First Aid trained staff in the work place reduces pressure on St John and the fire service. Amazingly, 30% of Fire Service call outs are medical calls. So give Simon a call, get yourself 'prepared' , learn in a fun way and who knows, you may one day save a life.

Breaking news! (Fortunately just breaking news, not breaking bones!)
Jodele, manager of a busy local cafe, had been on our course and just two days later was called upon to administer First Aid, not once but twice! First up was Haki, a Cafe Assistant, who slipped whilst carrying a hot water urn. Jodele treated burns to his leg using burn gel pads provided by Simon, glad wrap and a calm manner (also, in a way, provided by Simon!) She said that she was glad she had done the course and was able to help. Nurses and the doctor at Whangarei hospital praised Jodele's action, telling her she had done such a good job that they thought paramedics had treated the burns. Haki was soon back to work with no scarring. Then, a couple of days later, Jodele was again called into action when another staff member slipped and fell hurting her hip, shoulder, neck and elbow. Jodele checked her over then sat with her until they were both certain there was no need for further treatment. Coincidentally, the patient had also attended the same first aid course! For the second time that week, Jodele had been "caring and took control." On both occasions Jodele was able to phone Simon who confirmed that she had done the right thing.