Safety 360: First-Aid Training: How to Save a Life

By webadmin on 05:15 pm Apr 20, 2012
Category Archive

Eamonn Sadler

As a firefighter I saw many lives saved by people who had undergone first-aid training. I also saw many lives lost because nobody knew what to do before professional help arrived.

Joel Marlowe is a teacher at Binus International School Simprug. This is his testimony on his experience with Medic One first-aid training, a course that equips you with the basic knowledge and a demonstration of how to save a life:

“I was in the pool when I heard it. What I at first thought was children joyfully playing and screaming turned out to be so different.

My wife then alerted me to the fact that something was very wrong.

I got out of the pool and I saw a man running off with what I thought at the time as possibly a child with an epileptic seizure as his limbs were flailing in an unnatural way.

I asked some people what had happened and they told me they had found the boy in the pool face down. His face, they said, was blue.

I immediately ran to find the boy and fortunately found him with a Spanish gentleman giving him CPR.

As in the video we watched the day before in our Medic One first-aid training class, I asked to help and took over administering CPR.

First, I checked to see if he was breathing and did about a seven count.

I am grateful that we watched the video of the surfer on how to detect if a person is breathing as in my opinion at that time the boy looked very similar to the kid in the video.

It was very hard to detect breath, especially given the strong breeze at the time. His stomach was moving but his chest was still. I could not detect a definite breath.

What scared me the most was that his mouth seemed to be gasping for breath as opposed to breathing. His lips were jerking outwards in an unnatural way.

His eyes were also wide open and I rarely saw him blinking. He looked like a fish out of water (no joke!) gasping for breath. I continued with the CPR and at one point he made a sort of coughing gurgling sound.

Although not certain, we decided that he was breathing and so I put him into the recovery position as I has been taught.

It got quite chaotic at this point as the mother — who was in hysterics the whole time — tried to grab her son and kept pulling him out of the recovery position.

The lifeguard grabbed the boy before I could do anything, but at least I was able to tell him to keep the boys’ mouth downward in case he vomited.

Within seconds the boy was whisked off somewhere and both myself and the Spanish man were left dazed and worried.

Thirty minutes later he was back at the pool with his family doing just fine. I am amazed that the family did not take him to the hospital.

Medic One says during the course that basic first-aid training is just the ‘tip of the tip’ of the iceberg in learning emergency first aid and this is very true.

I am still a bit shocked by all of the variables that cannot be covered in a one-day course, so I will be continuing with more Medic One training.

Once again, let me also thank Medic One for doing a fantastic job with their training.

I am still amazed by the calmness I had walking into the situation having done the course. I am now scared however by how much I do not know.”

What would you have done in the same situation?

Medic One Indonesia is the country’s first emergency and medical services company. It was founded by a group of primary-care and emergency physicians, surgeons and public health specialists. For more information on Medic One’s first-aid training, go to

Eamonn Sadler is a writer and a columnist for Safety 360. He is based in Jakarta and was formerly a firefighter in Britain.