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Sunday 27 September 2009

Why Everyone Should Really Get Some First Aid Training.

When somebody smashes down onto the floor, head-first, whilst painful screeching noises come from the depths of their throat, as they simultaneously froth at the mouth; it would, perhaps, be nice to have an inkling of an idea of how to respond appropriately. The collective response of everyone on set; hoping someone else knew what to do, is not something I, nor I suspect anyone else, was particularly proud of.

I admit to feeling relief when someone yelled "call an ambulance!" - because that was something I could do. It mattered. It was important. It was far better than staring at this guy on the floor, wondering why I am such an idiot of a human for not knowing how to respond.

Although this happened on a film set, it really applies to everyone, everywhere. It got me to thinking-- if I was out with a friend, walking through a field - and they suddenly smacked down on the floor, unable to move-- I would like to at least have some kind of idea as to how to respond. How many of you know what to do when these things happen? I'm going to be honest and tell you, if you told me right now to put you in the recovery position-- I wouldn't know what to do.

How awful is that!!!?!? Surely, as a human being, I should know. I don't want to play Doctor and I don't even want to take charge whenever somebody has an episode of some kind; I would just like to be confident that I am not completely useless.

I would like to know that I can play a part in helping another human being when they need it the most. And I don't ever want to momentarily freeze again. Admittedly, this freeze was only for about a millisecond-- but life comes and goes in a millisecond.

Film sets in particular are manic places at times, full of hot lights, cables scattered about and empty stomachs waiting for lunch-- all sorts of things can happen. And yes, most sets have designated first aiders on site. But that doesn't stop your responsibility, as a human, to NOT stand around and be completely useless when the horrible happens.

But, as I was saying-- this applies to everything. If you work in an office, a supermarket, or even if you're a homeless person. Do you really want to be completely helpless when someone around you collapses? I want to at least know that, if someone has an epileptic seizure, or a heart attack, or they break a bone-- I want to be able to provide the basics, at least until someone who knows what they're doing comes along.

I'm sure most of you are probably better equipped in these situations than I am. But then, I know I'm a pretty average person; so I'm assuming there are many people like me, who wouldn't have the foggiest idea what to do in these situations. Let's go and enrol in some kind of first aid courses right now. Let's be more responsible. Let's value those around us with a little more respect. It's literally a life and death matter.


  1. That's really a great idea. I'd have no clue what to do in a situation like that, except call 911.


    I agree with the kid. Everybody should learn the basics.

  3. I feel the exact same way about self-defence. I originally took up martial arts as a confidence builder and because I liked martial arts - that's it. But since then, I've walked down the street late at night with a shadowy figure close behind me. I've been worried at that moment, yes, but at the same time, I've thought "think twice dude!"

    Don't get me wrong, I'm no Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan (hell, I'm not even Steven Seagal!) but I can take care of myself. If someone attacks me, I have confidence I stand a decent chance of surviving. It means that I can walk down that dark street and not be completely crapping myself the entire time.

    Some people don't worry about this stuff at all - until it happens to them!

    I often wonder what it would be like NOT to know the things I know. To walk down that street with a large figure following close behind and think to myself "oh god, I have no idea what to do!!!" - a terrifying thought.

    It's the little things that others might call paranoia -

    When your mobile rings, the first thing you do is check your surroundings before answering. Someone might be distracting you with your phone so they can creep up on you.

    Someone asks where Big Ben is. Big Ben is behind you. You position yourself so that you're not turning your back on the asker, giving them the perfect chance to attack.

    Someone asks for the time, you extend a hand slightly so that they can't attack when you take your eyes off them and lower your head.

    Someone asks for change - you never stop walking. With one hand in a pocket or inside a jacket, you're an easy target.

    Little things that wouldn't have occurred to me before. It's the same with first aid. You feel a lot more confident when you know what you're doing.

    Having said all that, the only first aid I know is that you call an ambulance!

  4. I once did first aid training at work, wanting to be useful. One horrible day I got called to an office where a young woman had collapsed into some sort of minor epileptic coma.

    I took one look and called an ambulance.

    The ambulance crew said that the worst thing was when they got calls from people after the first aider had spent 10 minutes trying to help, often making things worse.

    Difficult to know what to do for the best, really.