In my life BC, I worked for ten years in the Rail Industry. It gave me some amazing experiences (not all good!) and I learnt some invaluable life skills through the weird and wonderful day-to-day job and the training courses I attended. But by far the skill I am most grateful for was my First Aid knowledge.
I attended a four-day First Aid at Work course and it was run by a pair of maverick instructors who'd worked both in field hospitals for the armed forces and as paramedics in inner city London. This meant they had extensive experience of some of the most horrific injuries; a fantastic knowledge of how to work in challenging conditions and an impressive background of improvising with limited kit.
They talked about how to deal with a casualty with a stab wound to the chest and how to sustain life using a crisp packet or plastic bag if their lung was punctured. They described performing a tracheotomy with a biro, and how the tragic loss of Damiola Taylor may have been prevented if someone had taken their shoe off and pressed their foot into his groin to stem the blood flow from his femoral artery.
This was the kind of training course that stays with you forever.
Yes, techniques and advice about first aid changes over time - notably the introduction of compression-only CRP (we all remember the Vinnie Jones advert don't we - no kissing!); and the new guidelines on how to deal with infant choking - an infant should now be treated on a first aider’s leg instead of along an arm.
Application of certain techniques is different for babies and children than for adults, so when Ruby was born I went on a specific paediatric first aid course - I strongly recommend it to all parents.
In addition to attending some practical training, I also recommend the new 10th Edition of the best-selling First Aid Manual just published by DK.
Its is the only up-to-date, illustrated guide on the market that covers every aspect of first aid. Endorsed and authorised by the UK’s three leading first aid societies: St John Ambulance, St Andrew’s First Aid and The British Red Cross, this comprehensive guide is the official training manual used in first aid training and is still the only guide written and endorsed by all three voluntary organisations.
Given I have had some experience with administering First Aid, and have had some training, I can't really say how confident I'd feel using this as a manual without any background knowledge. But, the way that it's laid out, does make it incredibly useful to refer to quickly, and there's caution boxes and instructions on when to dial 999 shown in red to make them quicker to find in an emergency.
I managed to get to the ripe old age of 35 without ever needing to go to Accident and Emergency, but suddenly, once kids come along I seem to find myself there more and more frequently. Suddenly innocuous household objects become potential killers and there are hidden dangers everywhere.
This book covers every possible scenario from house fires to drowning to electrocution. It covers minor first aid issues that as a parent you're likely to face fairly often like cuts; bruises; head knocks; nosebleeds; scalds; stings and things stuck up noses! It details what to do in more extreme life-threatening situations like choking; heart attacks, anaphylactic shock and road traffic accidents. It has specific instruction where techniques differ for children and even has some specifics on first aid for pregnant women.
This is an excellent manual, full of detailed illustrations, photographs and diagrams. The instruction are clear and simple to understand and the comprehensive index makes the relevant page easy and quick to find.
It's a book that I'm going to keep in the kitchen, that way I'll always know where it is in an emergency and I can flick through it and refresh myself each time I'm waiting for something to cook in the oven!
The 10th Edition First Aid Manual is published by Dorling Kindersley and is on sale now at £13.99. Every home should have a copy of this book in my opinion.
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