Do you know First Aid?
by Dimpy Kongsiri
Would you know what to do if you were scalded with boiling water? Would you know how to help if an elderly relative slipped and broke his arm? Or if someone got cut by a knife?
As natural calamities become more frequent and relevant would it be useful, even essential, to have someone on-hand with basic skills and knowledge of first aid? During the floods or in another emergency situation where medical professionals are not immediately available, if you knew first aid you may alleviate pain, stop blood and even save lives.
The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has acknowledged the increased need for public participation in giving emergency medical aid and every day healthcare. The second Saturday of September of every year has been chosen as World First Aid Day to promote awareness of the importance of first aid.
Accordingly, the Thai Red Cross Society led by the First Aid and Health Care Training Center celebrated the occasion over the weekend of 8-9th September. This year the World First Aid Day was themed 'First Aid for Vulnerable People'. The weekend was packed with talks and activities that promoted knowledge and proper use of first aid. It was attended by Red Cross staff and volunteers from all over Thailand.
Talks on the first day covered medical issues such as ways to rescue victims of electrocution and drowning, updates on resuscitation methods and the role of the Emergency Medical Institute of Thailand, which is a government rescue initiative. There was a topical discussion panel that looked at first aid from the patient's, the caregiver's and the legal viewpoints. A representative of a company also talked about the importance of first aid in the workplace; one of the income earners for the charity work of the Thai Red Cross is from the First Aid and Health Care Training Center’s work training employees in factories and organisations upon request.
On the second day of the World First Aid Day weekend there were demonstrations by medical student volunteers on how to give first aid. They showed how to bandage an ankle, how to make a support sling, how to give CPR and other first aid skills. Participants were encouraged to practice these by using props, dummies and other volunteers as their model. There were posters and displays on how to deal with snake bites, how to create a makeshift stretcher for transporting patients, how to treat burns etc. There were booths by the marine rescue unit Sea Search and Rescue (SSR) of the Thai Red Cross and the Emergency Medical Institute of Thailand.
The majority of participants are volunteers led by a Red Cross member of staff from each province. They have been trained by the First Aid and Health Care Training Center and are able to give first aid in their local area. The Red Cross places importance on equal access to healthcare so, as these skills and knowledge spread, more people, especially the vulnerable, will benefit. First Aid Day gives the opportunity for volunteers to be recognized and appreciated, for them to exchange ideas and experience, and celebrate together. One of the team building activities was a competition for the 'Best First Aid' team. The volunteers were also entertained by the Red Cross Youth and heard an inspiring interview with a young man who spent his winnings from a game show on establishing an emergency rescue unit.
World First Aid Day promotes the idea that our health and safety is something we can and should actively participate in to at least start the process of medical care. Ideally there should be at least one trained first aid caregiver in each community. Who knows, one day you may be helped by a Red Cross volunteer, and better still, if first aid is learnt, one day you may be able to give medical help to someone in need!
The First Aid and Health Care Training Center of the Thai Red Cross may be contacted at Tel. 02 -256- 4041/2 and 02-253-4803
www.redcross.or.th Call Center 1664