In Summary
  • I was stunned to realise just how ignorant I have been about basic first aid.
  • I know of a family that lost a baby due to choking.

I was recruited to a first-aid group that was formed and equipped to effectively respond to any emergencies at our workplace.

We were taken through a short course to enable the new recruits — a good number of whom had not done first aid before — to learn basic but crucial life-saving skills.

The class took a whole day, albeit condensed to cover the common accidents and emergency situations that occur both at home and at work such as choking, drowning, seizures and the like.

I was stunned to realise just how ignorant I have been about basic first aid. It was humbling to know how every given day, we are surrounded by situations that expose us to accidents and other forms of danger but which we are so oblivious to.

FIRST AID
For example, what many of us have always known to be a simple first-aid move for nose bleeding — i.e., to tilt the head backwards and place a wet cloth on the forehead — was dismissed by our expert instructors. Similarly trashed was the common habit of placing ice cubes on burns. This, we were told, even worsens the burn.

This got me wondering about how many accidents turn fatal just because people do not know what to do in such situations.

I know of a family that lost a baby due to choking. They did not know how to administer first aid to the baby, and tragedy struck. First aid saves lives and the lack of it may lead to very serious and permanent injuries, if not death.

It is difficult to discuss first aid without mentioning rescue and recovery missions. They all go to together sometimes. One always has to rescue a victim before administering first aid. I was left wondering how the government can help Kenyans acquire this crucial knowledge that, in some instances, can mean the difference between life and death for victims.

ROAD SAFETY

When I was a young girl, short programmes on road safety were a common feature on our TV screens.

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