You’re never too small to respond in an emergency, even administer first aid – that’s a lesson children as young as nine and 10 learnt, complete with professional training, at a Dubai school last week.
The training at Safa British School was conducted by the Hayat Institute under the Mohammad Bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development.
Marwan Ali, founder of the institute, said the idea behind the initiative was to empower youngsters to do their bit in an emergency and help save lives.
“During an emergency, every small intervention matters. By just making that call to 999, securing the patient and managing the crowds, you can help save a life. The younger you are educated about it, the better you will act.”
Ali said the emergency survival rate in the UAE was less than 10 per cent – as against 50 per cent in some countries - because the layman does not know how to respond appropriately or do CPR.
“We want to change this by creating greater awareness and promote a healthier, happier and safer society.”
He said school kids are taught three important lessons: when and how to call 999, do hands-only compression and help control bleeding.
“When a child calls 999, he or she needs to know what to say. There is some basic information about the patient, location etc that must be provided. So we teach them what to look for.” Similarly, in case there is no sign of life in the patient, a child can call 999 and then administer hands-only CPR before help arrives. This means knowing how to push hard and fast at the centre of the patient’s chest to 100-120 beats per minute.
“Immediate CPR can double or even triple a person’s chance of survival,” said Ali.
Equally important is the ability to control bleeding by putting direct pressure on a wound or injury with a piece of clean cloth or bandage. The patient’s hand must also be raised above the heart level and movement kept minimal. Carole Ansell, assistant head teacher at Safa British School, said over 60 students from Year 5 participated in the training. “It was a brilliant opportunity for them to learn the basics of first aid. As part of our moral education programme, we prepare our students for the summer holidays. It is essential that they are aware of health and safety issues and how they can be of help to others.”