On hoping today was wasted.

Today I made the jaunt south of the river, and then south of the other river, to attend a day of first aid training in Sunderland, provided by the Red Cross.

I was not looking forward to the day, but it actually turned out to be a good deal more fun than I had imagined. Apparently the Red Cross have done a lot of thinking about kinesthetic learning techniques, and nicely incorporated them into the course, which is how I found myself pretending to be a stroke victim who had hit a motorcyclist and crashed the car I was driving, causing my passengers to suffer from a nosebleed and an asthma attack.

We acted our parts whilst others assessed the situation, and then we had to try and assess their invented scene, which turned out to be one man choking on a peanut and another man lying unconscious after a heart attack, with a baby lying beside him.

It was silly, and random, but also quite helpful, and memorable. Which I imagine will be useful.

However, after learning how to put someone in the recovery position; bandaging wounds and tying slings; thinking about various common ailments and learning both how to recognise their symptoms, and what to do when one sees them; and learning how to deal with someone who is choking, we finished the day with lessons in CPR.

Here is what I have learned:

  • Even though they only do about 5 chest compressions on TV, in real life you’re supposed to do 30, with 2 breaths in between.
  • It’s got to be pretty swift (2 per second)
  • It’s got to be heavy (5 or 6 cms)
  • And you’ve got to keep doing it until the ambulance arrives.
  • All of that is pretty tiring.
  • Practicing on the child and baby mannequins was terrifying.
  • I never, never, never want to have to use this in real life. Ever.

And for that reason I hope that this day will always remain an untested waste of time.

Have you ever done any first aid training? Have you ever had to use it in real life? Have you seen this amusing ‘how to’ courtesy of Vinnie Jones and the British Heart Foundation?

In summary: trained, hopefully never tested.



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