Teenager puts life-saving skills into action

February 07 2013
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A young first-aider from Keynsham had to put his new skills into action just weeks after completing his training when a woman collapsed in front of him.

Teenager puts life-saving skills into action

A young first-aider from Keynsham had to put his new skills into action just weeks after completing his training when a woman collapsed in front of him. Lewis Dance

Eighteen-year-old Lewis Dance, right, had been celebrating the new year with friends in Keynsham. But when he stepped outside the pub for some fresh air soon after midnight, he found a woman had fallen to the floor and begun fitting.

Lewis immediately ran to help, putting her into the recovery position as she lost consciousness and ensuring she didn't choke. At the same time he called paramedics and tried to keep everyone else calm.

He said: “At the time the adrenalin just kicks in, it wasn't until afterwards that I started thinking about what could have happened. It was lucky I was there as no one else knew first aid. It was scary.”

Lewis passed his St John Ambulance first aid training at the end of November in his role as a volunteer at Time Out Youth Service. He is studying a Level 3 National Diploma in uniformed public services at City of Bath College and hopes to become a frontline medic with the army. In the meantime he has applied to become a voluntary community first responder with advanced first aid training.

He said he was surprised that no one else at the scene knew first aid, despite the fact around 100 people were present.

He added: “If anyone gets the opportunity to do first aid, take it with both hands – you could end up using it the next day or a year later. It’s handy to have that knowledge to help out in situations.”

He added: “It feels nice to help people, especially in the community, and save lives.”

A St John Ambulance volunteer based in Keynsham has also called for more people to learn the vital life-saving skills.

Dan Shearing, 21, was the only person with first-aid training at the scene of an accident in Hanham last month where a motorcyclist suffered a badly broken leg in a collision.

He said his St John Ambulance training automatically kicked in when he realised someone had been injured. “It was very obvious that the motorcyclist had a badly broken leg so I assessed him for other injuries and treated him as necessary. It was important to keep him calm and still and another person rang for an ambulance as I reassured him and made sure that his leg was kept stable and supported.”

Dan, who joined the charity as a Cadet when he was 15, added: “This incident really illustrates for me the importance of knowing what to do in a medical emergency.
“There was no one else there who could have helped and you never know how severe someone’s injuries may be.”

For more about first-aid training and community courses in your area or to get involved as a volunteer visit www.sja.org.uk or contact 0117 953 3880.

* Volunteers from the Keynsham branch of St John Ambulance will be demonstrating basic life- saving skills as well as offering people the chance to get hands-on experience at an open day at its base in Rock Road on February 9 from 10am to 4pm.

Organiser Dan Shearing said: “We would like people who are interested in being the difference or learning how to save a life to come along to the event and find out more.”