Gestes qui Sauvent: French First Aid
This month in France sees free introductory First Aid courses going on throughout the country. Following the nightmare events of 13 November last year in Paris, a lot of people contacted their Préfectures or local First Aid organisations to ask about training, realising that if they ever got caught up in a similar situation they wouldn’t know how to help as their First Aid skills are rather lacking. I come into that category. I did my First Aid badge as a guide and had some basic training when I prepared for my various lifesaving awards, but it’s become a bit misty over time.
So, when the Creuse prefecture announced the courses for our area, I signed me and Rors up for a session in Boussac, at the Sapeur Pompiers’ HQ, and last Sunday we turned up for it.
It was excellent, really interesting, and our trainer, Christophe Chandion, was very thorough and patient. The trainees consisted of us, a family with two young boys and the wife of another of the pompiers. I’d expected a much bigger turnout, I have to say. Apparently, the day before no one had turned up at all, even though they’d signed up for the session. The trainer was there on his own.
We covered a lot during the morning: protecting the victim, alerting the authorities, how to stem serious bleeding, how to deal with conscious and unconscious victims, and we even got to grips with a defibrillator. It wasn’t connected to the mains, obviously! However, it was good to find out what those mysterious boxes that you see everywhere these days (there’s one in Nouzerines, for example) are all about. We got to do cardiac massages on a dummy too and that’s surprisingly hard work. You have to push pretty hard!
Rors and I enjoyed ourselves tremendously. We came home with attestations to say we attended the course, but those are just for encouragement. Rors will be doing a First Aid course at school in the near future so he’ll be consolidating on what he learnt. And who knows, maybe I’ll be tempted to go on a proper course for official accreditation. Mum was a First Aider so perhaps it’s time I followed in the family footsteps.