How Swift First Aid Action Spared a Life
It had been a fairly normal day for Marica. She had gone about her business at the campus of EF Oxford and then settled into bed to call it a night. She was fast asleep when her phone rang. This wasn’t a call from a friend wondering what she had planned for the upcoming weekend, though! No--it was the campus security ringing with an emergency for her to attend to around 2:30 a.m.! You see, Marica was the Resident Emergency Contact that night.
Just seconds earlier, the campus security had received a call about a student who seemed to have had too much alcohol while out with a friend that night. They then phone Marica to ask her advice about what to do. As soon as she had hung up the phone from that call, they rang back stating the student had stopped breathing. Without hesitation, Marica put herself into action and headed towards the scene.
While Marica quickly made her way to the student’s aid, the security team phoned emergency services. Thankfully, Marica took less than half a minute to arrive at the scene and immediately jumped into action. She began to perform CPR, but her first attempt was unsuccessful. Without thinking twice, Marica began delivering the second round of CPR, with hopes of reviving the young woman still motivating her. Thankfully, the ambulance arrived while she was delivering the second round of CPR. The emergency team took over and then transported the student to the hospital, where she was able to recover.
Marica related to us how she felt following this event.
“I always thought that doing something heroic would feel totally amazing, but in fact, it is not so cool. It was a very stressful moment. Don’t get me wrong, I was very happy I saved her life, but the feeling afterward was not as sweet as I had pictured.”
Do you suppose it may be the “what ifs” that plague Marica’s thoughts, taking away the euphoria of being thrilled to have helped save another human’s life? The biggest one to consider is “What if Marica hadn’t been taught CPR with her life-saving first aid training?”
Thankfully, that is not a reality those living to tell this story will have to contemplate. Marica acted swiftly and with confidence, letting her first aid training kick in to help her know exactly what to do. The key factor here is how vital those first few minutes were, and that having a person nearby, who had been trained in first aid, made a significant impact on the outcome of that emergency.
Like Marica, many people who find themselves helping others in an emergency don’t consider themselves heros. But there’s no doubt that the ones they aid feel forever grateful for the fact there was someone near them that could act with effective first aid training.
Basic CPR Protocols
1. Opening the casualty's airway
If a casualty is unresponsive, place one hand on the casualty’s forehead and two fingers under their chin. Carefully tilt their head back and lift the chin to open their airway.
2. Check the casualty's breathing
Whilst maintaining an open airway, observe for the casualty's chest rising up and down. Listen out for normal breathing and feel for their breath on your cheek. If the casualty is not breathing, commence CPR immediately.
3. Call for help and commence CPR
Preferably using your speaker phone function, call 999 or 112 for an ambulance. Ask a bystander to make the call if available. The next step is to commence CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation), to provide oxygen to the brain and keep blood circulating to the heart.
4. Starting chest compressions
Kneel next to the casualty in line with their chest.
Place the heel of one hand at the end of the casualty's breastbone at the centre of their chest.
Place the heel of the opposite hand on top of the first hand and interlock your fingers.
Lean over the casualty with your arms locked out straight.
Press down vertically on the chest by 5-6 cm and release the compression with your hands still on the chest. This is a single chest compression.
Repeat the chest compressions 30 times at a rate of about two per second or at the speed of the song ‘Staying Alive’. Followed by two rescue breaths, also known as mouth to mouth resuscitation.
5. Administering rescue breaths
With the casualty’s airway open, pinch their nose firmly closed.
Seal your lips around the casualty's mouth and blow until the chest rises.
Allow the chest to fall and repeat another rescue breath.
Continue with the 30 chest compressions and two rescue breath cycle for as long as possible and/or until help arrives.
When to stop CPR?
If the casualty starts breathing normally again, you may put them in the recovery position and await further help.
Are you ready to learn first aid?
Everyone should have some measure of basic first aid. One cannot predict when or where it may be useful. The reality is accidents, injuries or illnesses are part of everyday life--at school, at work, at home and on holiday.
Whether it’s a minor situation or something more serious, first aid knowledge will give you the confidence to act immediately, just like Marica did. Your prompt actions could help in saving a person’s life.
For more information on how to register for a first aid training course, please select the relevant courses below.
Basic Life Support
Online Emergency First Aid
These adult CPR protocols complement first aid training in assisting a casualty in an event of an emergency. There is no substitute for thorough training covering both practical and theory exercises. Please seek medical advice in all emergency events. The protocols are a guidance and in line with the Resuscitation Council UK.
Be a lifesaver, not a bystander.