Would you know what to do if the person opposite you on the Tube suddenly had a heart attack or fit? Londonist friend Geoff Marshall yesterday found himself in that position, when a woman collapsed in his carriage.
His account of the reactions of other passengers — largely paralysed into inaction, even when given clear instructions — rings depressingly true. Fortunately, Geoff kept a clear head and was able to keep the passenger breathing until help arrived, in the shape of a virtuous cleaner who happened to be first-aid trained.
The story is by no means uncommon, but made us think how unprepared we'd be in such a situation. Hence, we've been looking into public first aid courses in London.
As it happens, St John Ambulance is currently promoting Save a Life September, with the following free roadshows across London and the south-east:
- 14 September: Ashley Centre, Epsom, 9am-4pm
- 15 September: The Orchards Shopping Centre, Dartford, 9am-4pm
- 15 September: Sainsbury's, Old Cross, Hertford, 9am-4pm
- 22 September: Westbury Avenue Baptist Church, Wood Green, London, 9am-4pm
Demonstrations take place every 30 minutes, with no booking necessary. All visitors will receive a free first aid booklet. Other locations further out are also available; search the database for more options.
St John Ambulance also offers full first aid courses, mostly geared up for workplace training. However, you can also sign up as an individual for an essential first aid course (£30), with regular courses in Marylebone and Potters Bar. Other specialist courses, such as sports first aid and road first aid, are also available.
The British Red Cross also puts on first aid courses for the public. It has 26 training centres across London, including central locations such as Canary Wharf, Euston and London Bridge. A two-hour Everyday First Aid course costs £12.50 or £21.25, depending on location. An all-day General First Aid course is £50-60, while the two-day Practical First Aid course costs £102.08.
It should be noted that none of the above course qualify you as a first aider in the workplace, but the Red Cross does offer options there too. Approaching your boss about taking an HSE-approved first aid at work course might be a good way to get quality training without spending your own cash.
Please feel free to share experiences of first aid training, saving lives in London, or any tips on the best courses, in the comments below.