A couple of weeks ago I decided to make curry for the kids. I put some oil in the pan and then went to the fridge to ferret out a couple of carrots. No sooner had I turned my back on the oven than I heard cries of ‘Mummy! Look!’: the pan had burst into flames and it was down to either me or the 6 year old to sort it out. I’m glad to say that it was all fine in the end: the fire went out without anyone, or anything, getting damaged. But I couldn’t help thinking that it was down to good luck rather than any skill or knowledge on my part that no-one was seriously hurt. It was my first experience of a fire at home and I hope it’s the last. But those couple of minutes taught me that these things can happen to anyone and that knowledge – and a fire blanket – is power.
And that’s why I was pleased to be asked along to try out a Daisy First Aid class at Clements Hall recently. I’ve never been a natural Florence Nightingale; lots of my family are medics but I don’t know one end of the bandage from another. If an medical complaint in our house can’t be fixed with a Disney plaster or Calpol, I’m at a loss. I’d been on a baby first aid course back when my eldest was tiny but, two more babies and six years later, I didn’t know my recovery position from my CPR.
But what could I possibly learn in just two hours? Loads actually. In one evening Cathy, our lovely and highly experienced trainer, taught us how to save a life in less time than I’d spend sorting out the laundry for the week (although we do have a lot of laundry). As well as the vital CPR skills – which we got to try out on some unsuspecting dummies (baby and adult) – she also told us how to spot the signs of meningitis, what to do if someone chokes, how to deal with cuts, allergic reactions and burns and much more. It was great that the course covers adults, children and babies. I know all too well how worrying it is to have a new baby and why baby-only first aid courses appeal to new parents, but they’re only little for a short time and it’s great to learn how to help children and adults in tricky situations too.
As there were just four of us at the session, we had lots of opportunity to ask questions and to make sure we really understood what Cathy was saying. She’s happy to run classes at people’s homes for groups of four or more friends/family members, which is a brilliant idea. The more relaxed the environment, the more you’re going to take in (and you wouldn’t have to worry about childcare either). Cathy also had lots of practical advice and useful reminders from her own experiences as a police officer that really brought the skills we were learning to life. If there’s a more valuable way of spending an evening, I’d be surprised. I went home feeling empowered, while at the same time hoping I never, ever have to use the skills I’ve learnt. Oh, and I’ve now bought a first aid kit (Disney plasters not included).
Cathy runs Daisy First Aid classes around York. Classes can be held in your own home in a group of four or more, or join a group class (see the website for details). Classes are £20 per person. Email or visit the Daisy First Aid website