First Aid Course Report

The structure of the weekend was simple - short discussions on various conditions followed by related scenarios, acted out by very convincing Red Cross volunteers with plenty of fake blood and gore. We were in small groups and had to deal as quickly and efficiently with each scenario as possible, which was then followed by a debrief. This way we could realise that things like rolling people into the recovery position are not easy down a steep slope, that real life casualties never fall into textbook positions and that when you puts someone's broken femur into traction, they really, really scream. The realism of the situation and the disappointment Tom, Barrable and I felt as we almost lost the guy with internal injuries (there's very little you can do) was incredibly real. We went through searching for people, going into the woods at night to recreate a search and finding casualties with hypothermia, had clambered down into quarries to get to people wrapped around trees, and been vomited on with chicken soup. Great fun, and very relevant to orienteering.

By the end of the weekend we were all feeling more confident in dealing with these situations, working as a smooth team, and had an exceptional distrust of our course leader whenever he left the room after he disappeared in the evening to have a stroke in the toilet and collapsed in an epileptic fit halfway through one of our discussions.

All in all, I'd recommend this weekend to anyone who's old enough, but expecially the younger end of the spectrum. The old phrase "it looks great on your CV," if you ever fancy coaching it's worth it, and even if you're running on tours and competitions yourself, it's a great skill to have. BOF subsidise the course so the whole weekend costs 50 pounds and it was definitely worth it. Details of further courses can be found on the BOF website under the coaching section, which I think is all up and running now.


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