Expert shares advice ahead of World First Aid Day

WORLD First Aid Day takes place tomorrow, Saturday, September 10.

People often underestimate the importance of knowing first aid, so it gave rise to the day with the aim of creating awareness on knowing and learning good quality first aid.

Jodi Jones, a Durban local who has been practising first aid since the age of 10, said knowing first aid could save someone’s life.

“I learnt first aid at the age of 10 with St John’s where I still volunteer. I am also a basic life-support paramedic and now teach first aid as well as provide medical standby at events,” she said.

She stressed the importance of first aid, saying that an emergency doesn’t happen in front of paramedics and doctors.

“Emergencies generally happen at home, in the workplace, on the road and in public areas, and it takes time for emergency services to respond,” said Jones.

She said if a person goes into cardiac arrest and stops breathing, he or she only has four minutes before the long-term effects of brain damage start to set in, therefore, knowing CPR and practising on the person until help arrives is very important.

“Most emergency services have amazing response times, but it’s highly unlikely that they will get to the patient in under four minutes,” she said.

First aid also teaches you about different procedures, how to follow them correctly and how to remain calm during an emergency.

“All of these will benefit the patient. When paramedics arrive at a scene, it’s good to know that the patient has been given a headstart. It could be one of the factors that actually save a person’s life,” said Jones.

Jones’ top first aid tips are:

Don’t listen to the old wives’ tales such as placing keys in the hands of someone who’s having a seizure or applying butter to burns. These actually cause more harm to them than help.

If a person is unconscious, roll them onto their side.

Know your local emergency service numbers and make sure you have access to them – on or in your phone, fridge, purse or wallet.

Learn who your local emergency services are as they are easier to reach and their response times are quicker than national ones.

Have an emergency plan and teach it to everyone who lives in your home. Anyone who takes care of children and elderly people must have first aid knowledge.

Prevention of an emergency is also very important. Ensure your nannies and caregivers know what and where potential hazards lie.

For more information, follow Jones on her Facebook page First Responder KZN and Instagram account firstresponderkzn