This week in Poole, two members of Dorset Humanists who trained as group first aiders during the COVID-19 pandemic were able to put their skills to good use when they each came across a person in distress.
Last week, Dan came across a man who had collapsed in a shop. His mother was with him and said that he suffered from epilepsy. Dan said, 'He was a person with epilepsy who had had a fit. I just kept him safe, asked for the lights to be turned off, arranged for some clothes racks to be put around him as a visual barrier, and waited until he felt better. An ambulance wasn't required.'
Later on, Aaron was out jogging when he was called to aid an elderly gentleman whose wife called out to him. Aaron said, 'I had just run up some steps and was sitting on a bench when a woman called out. She was half-supporting a man seemingly in his eighties, who was sinking down to the ground. I helped support him as he had lost all his energy. He had had a stroke two months ago and was trying to build himself back up. We partially carried him to the top of the steps and sat him on a bench, running cognitive awareness tests. At first, he was struggling to speak, had little awareness, but showed no actual signs of a stroke in progress. He then came back, knew where he was, his wife's name, the view, etc. I stayed with him while his wife fetched the car.'
Dan learned first aid during his time in the Air Cadets, and Aaron learned it through various past jobs and voluntary organizations. He explained, 'I've done the course perhaps seven times, but it's a skill that's so rarely used that it's great to have it when you need it. I would highly recommend people keep getting refresher courses.'
Dan and Aaron took the opportunity to become the group's first aid team when Bournemouth and Poole College ran a first aid course funded by the council. Although Dorset Humanists had agreed to fund the course, which cost around £35 per person, both members were not working at the time, so the course ended up being free.
At Humanistically Speaking, we're very much in favour of groups having their members trained in life skills such as first aid. We would love to hear from any groups out there who have initiated this themselves or are considering doing so now. In this age of four-hour ambulance waits and strikes, it's more essential than ever to know what to do when. In some instances, you may be the only person there.