My First Aid training with the ICRC is finally over and I’m now a certified First Aider. So, you can faint whenever you want because part of my job going forward is to make sure you bounce back to life, literally.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC organized a three-day Media and First Aid Training last week and journalists were taken through the process of administering first aid treatment to casualties in an emergency situation.

Yours sincerely represented the ID Africa team and amid so much learning, eating and networking, here are some important things I learned from the program.

  1.      Not everyone is qualified to give first aid

Don’t be too quick to jump into action if you’re not qualified. First aid is a skilled assistance given to someone who is injured or ill before taking them to the hospital or before the arrival of medical personnel. The emphasis here is on ‘skilled’. And if you don’t have the skill to offer first aid, you may cause more harm than good.

  1.      DRABC

Pronounced as DR. ABC, this is an acronym for Danger, Response, Airways, Breathing, and Compression. It is used to access the Danger involved in the emergency situation and to Respond by ensuring that the casualty’s Airways (nose and mouth) are not blocked. Next is to make sure that they are Breathing and on confirming that, the casualty would then be put in a recovery position. If they’re not breathing, the next step is to offer Compression (CPR) to resuscitate the victim.

  1.      When someone is stabbed, don’t pull out the embedded object

The urgent reflex that comes to our minds when someone is stabbed is to pull out the object from their body, but it’s extremely harmful to do so. If someone is stabbed in your presence or impaled by an object, you are only required to put bandages around the wound to stop bleeding and get medical help quickly.

  1.      The brain shuts down within 6 minutess of losing oxygen

The human brain needs a constant supply of oxygen to perform. A healthy adult has about 6 litres of blood and the brain can survive with just a little blood, but without air, the brain shuts down. That’s why emergency response team always put oxygen mask on casualties before anything else.

  1.       Protect yourself at all times.

First Aiders are expected to always wear protective gears while attending to casualties in order to minimize risk of infection, especially when fluids like blood, vomit, and other leakages are involved. In the absence of hand gloves, one can use nylon to cover their hands or handkerchief to cover their nose.

  1.      Use the TRIAGE method when there are too many casualties

TRIAGE is an emergency response method that focuses on saving as many lives as possible by treating casualties based on how fast they can be stabilized so that too much time is not spent trying to resuscitate one person at the expense of so many others.

  1.      Don’t make prescriptions or pronouncements

Always remember that you’re not a doctor and as such you’re not permitted by law to make prescriptions or pronounce somebody dead. There are some peculiar instances where you can only offer not more than 600mg of aspirin to stroke victims before taking them to the hospital.

Okay, that’s it. The training was fun and interactive, and the best part is that we all received certificates in the end.