Following an incident last September where I had to use my first aid skills to revive a gent having a serious emergency, I was approached by St John to become one of their advocates.
This essentially involves making myself available on a volunteer basis, to tell people about my experience from the perspective of an ordinary person in the street, and to be an advocate for first aid training.
I've had some interesting experiences with the campaign so far, in particular being put well outside my comfort zone in a one-to-one on camera interview with Jennifer Byrne - now I know how Kevin07 felt when King Kerry put him under the torch. I can't say the TV interview experience would be pleasant one if you were a dodgy mortgage broker about to be dissected by a raging TV current affairs shock jock! You can see my interview, and some really amazing stories under the 'I never thought it would happen to me' section. In particular Paul Geller tells a harrowing story of his survival after a shark attack.
The campaign has been launched at St Johns new website www.stjohnfirstaid.com.au, and the advocate stories, as well as tales from professionals involved in the daily handling of such emergencies, and the hard-hitting TV ad above are all available for viewing. I showed the ad above to my staff last week, and the ones with no idea about first aid were completely shocked, whereas the ones who had some training weren't that phased by its hard hitting message. Why? The trained people immediately had a few ideas on how to sort out the emergency, the untrained ones would have had to either guess, or just stand by helplessly.
The gist of the campaign is that you never know when you might need it, and from my perspective it's a nice feeling to know that when the need arose, I was up to the task. The thing that struck me after we'd managed to revive the poor guy that day in Marrickville was how shocked the bystanders were. The overwhelming reason was that they had no idea what to do, and were grateful there was someone there who was, lest they have to act without any clue as to what to do in the emergency.
Research from St Johns shows that most people consider First Aid to be important, but few transfer that feeling into actually getting the certification.
I urge you to get qualified if you're not. Even if you've done a course in the distant past, it is now definitely out of date, and in my own resuscitation experience I used a completely different CPR method to the one I was taught prior to my last refresher. I'm off to do my 3-year refresher next Monday & expect to learn a whole bunch of new techniques & skills.
You can enrol for a course through the St John site above, or my good mate Bruce McNaughton is running a course at the beautiful Neilsen Park Cafe (venue for Freya's talk in December) on August 8, which you're welcome to enrol in, if you're in the Sydney area and a club member. You can get details of Bruce's course through the NSWSKC Calendar, or by clicking HERE. Bruce is also running an adjoining Remote First Aid course the following weekend which is a fantastic thing for sea kayakers to do, considering the places we go & the things we do, sometimes well away from immediate medical help.
I have three beautiful and adventurous kids and consider it my duty to have the skills to assist them in any way should they require first aid. From time to time my paddling puts me in positions where the risks associated with the activity demand that I am capable of dealing with an emergency. In my workplace, I'm the only up to date first aid qualified person, so again it's a responsibility I take seriously.
With the campaign launched today, I look forward to doing a bit more towards raising awareness of the need for everyone to get some proper, up-to-date first aid training.