We were nervous, it’s been some years since us two were in a classroom together, we were assigned some homework before the course started and we surprised ourselves by actually doing it, so we were off to a good start! (Mr Barker circa. 1985 would have been so proud)
Thankfully the classroom was outdoors (so no window for me to stare out of) and from the moment we met Will we felt relaxed and excited to get started. We also knew quickly that he was expecting us to pull out some Oscar award winning performances, this was going to be two days of practical and hands on training. Sam does an amazing rock climber with a head injury, and I don’t like to brag, but my heart attack would bring a tear to the eye of my fellow thespian Sir Ian McKellen, just saying.
This two day course was a hands on, and at times intense, covering possibly everything you would hope wouldn’t go wrong, from assessing the situation, dealing with your casualty and their needs, administering first aid care and offering emotional support. Taking it in turns to be the casualty and first aider we acted out everything from a bee sting to sprains, head injury to CPR. The hardest scenario and something we covered, was approaching an unconscious casualty and talking through with Will what we thought the problem could be, what to look out for and more importantly what our plan to deal with this situation was going to be.
Maybe it was our bafta award winning performances, because this did feel very real at times and trying not to panic in these situations was key. The casualty was always briefed beforehand, so the first aider never knew what was about to unfold, and Will was always good at throwing in a curve ball for extra drama and to ply the pressure. In a real life situation things can rapidly change from bad, to a lot worse, so looking for signs of shock and other dangerous signs isn’t always plain sailing. You need to be able to act swiftly and sometimes navigate others, such as passers by, to help with the situation if safe to do so.
As a group (about 12 of us) we were always throwing in questions and different worse case scenarios and Will always answered our concerns or helped us find the answer ourselves. All of us were there for different reasons, for example DofE leaders, teachers and care workers, some about to embark on some amazing expeditions abroad and of course two over dramatic and very excitable group walk leaders (that's us obviously). Will adapted the course to cover everyone’s needs and would specifically highlight what individuals would find useful to them.
So it was a varied and interesting course, we thoroughly enjoyed it and we came away with a very splendid certificate at the end of it. Now, will we remember everything we had learnt on that cold but dry weekend at the Youlgreave Scout Hut? well in the wise words of Will himself 'no probably not' how can we remember everything, because nothing can prepare you for a stressful and possibly life threatening moment, we can only try and do what we think is right in that critical moment, and what we are faced with at the time. Of course we are not expecting that oscar winning performance to become a reality. We have come away mindful of what can go wrong, how quickly events can change, and how we are best equipped to deal with it if it should go wrong.
We are very grateful for the amazing people that come on our group walks, we are always planning great places to herd them off to next, we want our walks to remain as safe and enjoyable as possible. We feel this course has given us that little extra confidence and knowledge we needed and we can now implement correct procedures, and adapt our kit, so we can be ready in case of an accident.
Our respect has grown more for the amazing work the emergency services do and appreciation for the Mountain rescue and lifeboat services that run solely on public donation and the incredible volunteers that must face some challenging times.
Thanks to Will for a great couple of days, it was fun, informative and a real eye opening experience.We shall use the extra resources he sent us for our future group walks and will definitely be using his courses again. Anyone interested in Will4Adventure for First Aid or Navigation courses then you can access Will and his team on the website here,
Now, can everyone please, carefully and very steadily Onward!
Anyone experienced or witnessed a first aid emergency whilst out on the hills? we'd be interested to know your thoughts, hope everyone managed to wobble of the hills themselves without a full on rescue situation unfolding, Or maybe a near miss in bad weather? let us know in the comments below. Stay Safe everyone.