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Up the creek, so to speak

Last Thursday I attended the regular LIVES training session. The deal is that, once you’ve passed as a First Responder, you have regular group training sessions. It makes perfect sense — it keeps your training fresh and reminds you of the things you might have forgotten about. Practically all of the local First Responders were there. Most of them I’ve only met once before, at our last meeting, so things were a little stiff at the start. However it didn’t take long for us all to chill out a bit and the banter soon started. Before I knew it we’d been there for two hours going through various cardiac arrest scenarios.

At the end of the session, as we were getting our training passports signed (we have to prove that we’ve received regular training) the paramedic who was leading the session got a text message on his phone. He read it out.

“18 year old female vomiting blood in Bottesford.”

I asked, “is that a call that’s just come in?”

“Yes.”

“Crap! Can I go?!”

The answer was no. Not because I wasn’t “allowed” to, but simply because I couldn’t. While I could get there within 8 minutes (the training was in a nearby village) I didn’t have the kit. I didn’t even have anything to identify me as anything more than a bloke off the street. What could I have done when I got there?

“Hello. Are you alright? What’s your name? That’s nice. My name’s Carl and I’m a First Responder. Unfortunately I don’t have anything with me, at all. I can’t even fill out a patient report form because the other responder has that.”

I was gutted. This was a time when I could have made a difference, and making a difference would have been relatively easy! If she was still conscious when I arrived, my job would mainly have been a case of reassuring her and monitoring her. If her SpO2 level was low, or fell while I was there, I’d put her on oxygen. If she was unconscious on my arrival then I’d put her in the recovery position (because as well as being ideal for keeping the airway open, it also assists with postural drainage) and then monitor her (including her SpO2 levels). If things went south I’d be there to help.

I wasn’t unprepared because I was lazy. I was unprepared because it was someone else’s turn to have the kit. In the perfect world First Responders wouldn’t be needed, because an ambulance crew or other similarly qualified person would be with you as soon as you need them. Unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect world and, in some cases, I’m as close to “similarly qualified person” as you’ll get for at least a quarter of an hour. So First Responders are needed, and in order to respond to calls we need kit.

£1500 pays for a complete First Responder kit. This wasn’t supposed to be a post begging for donations, but if you do decide to send some money our way, please be sure to say that it’s to go towards a new kit for the Woolesthorpe-by-Belvoir group. 😉

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