Thursday, May 12, 2011

Once again, the unforgettable Rob Evans: Please, if you do one thing this summer, learn first aid

The National's Gemma Champ has a wonderful and terribly sad column today about the importance of learning first aid. Gemma was one of the three who was with my friend and colleague Rob Evans out on Yas Island when he died, six months ago tomorrow, and the fact that there was nothing she could do to help him clearly haunts her.
What I didn't know was that sweet Gemma stole away the day after Rob's funeral in London (about a half-dozen of us flew from Abu Dhabi to attend when it finally happened in December) and took a first aid course.

I suggested first aid courses to our managing editor at the start of the year for the very same reason knowing if I'd been there that night I wouldn't have known what to do either. And just like Gemma, when I finally took the course and walked away with my certificate, I couldn't believe that I'd been putting it off for almost two decades.

The first aid and emergency situation in the UAE is nothing short of woeful. I doubt most workplaces have first aid kits or trained health and safety people who have had first aid training, let alone the the automatic defibrillators that are now common throughout the West. I know people with likely fatal allergies walking around without Epi pens because they can't find them. And read here if you want a refresher on the hell of calling an ambulance in the middle of the night. I can only say this: please prepare yourself for the worst, no matter where you are, and if you are living in the UAE multiply that by 100.

Know your landmarks, write down clearly the instructions to your home so you can convey them under the worst of circumstances. Go out of your way to learn first aid, because if something bad happens in a public space, in all likelihood you will be the only one who has the slightest idea about what to do – and we already know the ambulances will be a long time coming. The more workplace managers who make sure that they have staff trained, the better the chance that one of them will be on duty the moment something happens.

We can change this.


ADaviator said...

sorry but you don't need to multiply it by 100 in UAE?
I was in USA and one guy fell in the middle of food cort, he was shaking and foam coming out of his mouth. over 100 people around and no body did anything.
now tell me why do you thing UAE is worst?

Ann Marie said...

I did not say it was the worst. I said it was "woeful". Of course, anyone can have the misfortune to collapse in an area where there is no one to help.

But having lived in the West for much of my life, and having written extensively about health care, first aid and the implementation of a mass public defibrillator programme in North America, I can say with authority that by comparison the situation is indeed woeful and needs to improve so lives can be saved.

How to be a happy expat

Because a cloud wall makes you want to take a selfie.  After 10 years living in the UAE, some of that time happy, some miserable and ...