March 19th, 2005

This IS me (by schwitters)Default

Crash Course

As a commuter on the Old Kent Road, I've seen more than my fair share of motorcycle accidents and their aftermath. Unless I'm the very first person at the scene I've always gone sailing on by, because there's nothing I can do - and this makes me feel bad. So when I found out about the First Aid for Motorcyclists course run by St. John's Ambulance, I signed up immediately.

Most of the course was basic First Aid, which is always good to be reminded of (I must have learned how to put someone in the Recovery Position four or five times, but I always forget), but geared towards the possibility of discovering an emergency while biking down a lonely country road late at night. The motorcycle-specific segments included a demonstration of nifty helmet removal system Hats Off and the need to cut off the casualty's leathers before applying a dressing.

(Aren't St. John's Ambulance personnel unfailingly lovely, by the way? It helps that they're generally sweet white-haired elderly gentlemen, a species to which I am greatly partial. As well as our charming Trainer, the course featured an ancient biker with a handlebar moustache who called me a rascal, so my cup of lovely old men ranneth over.)

Being small and easy to manipulate, I spent much of my morning lying on the floor as a casualty. This always makes me feel a bit funny, although we joked about it; I get to imagining how awful it would be to find myself flat on the ground for real with a leg wound and a First Aider asking whether I could open my eyes for him, and mild panic ensues.

I now know how to clear an airway using the Jaw Lift Method and remove an unconscious biker's helmet without severing his spinal cord. I have a first aid kit under my seat and a pocket face mask on a keyring so I can give mouth-to-mouth without contracting hepatitis. And I pray I never need any of it.
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