Something I meant to add to my list of small things to celebrate last Friday is that I now know how to save a life.
I've been on a half-day Heart Start course, an initiative co-ordinated by the British Heart Foundation to teachers members of the public what to do in a life-threatening emergency. Better still, it was run by a fireman! There were nine of us in the group, which meant there was enough of us to get some discussions going, but not so many that we had to wait for a turn on the equipment.
We were introduced to the DR'S ABC - danger; response; shout; airway, breathing; CPR - and shown a series of videos introducing various scenarios we might come across. It was like watching those first few minutes of Casualty, when you play 'spot the victim'!
We were shown how to do CPR, with and without rescue breaths. It is incredibly tiring to pump away to the rhythm of 'Nelly The Elephant' or 'Staying Alive'. We touched on the use of the emergency defibrillators. These are idiot proof; it really is a case of following the on-screen instructions. We also had a go at abdominal thrusts and back slapping to remove some cotton wool balls from the throat of a 'Choking Charlie' dummy, and learned what to do in cases of severe bleeding.
It was a great way to spend a morning. I've done first aid courses before (I have to have a first aid certificate for my yoga teacher's insurance), but this was a refreshing approach that made us all feel we'd know what to do while waiting for the professionals to arrive.
Imagine you're walking down your high street and a man in front of you suddenly collapses. If you don't want to be one of the hapless majority who don't know what to do, check out these courses now, here. Lecture over.