Category: First aid

Restart a heart: how Joanna saved her husband’s life

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Joanna and Graham with their arms around each other in their garden

Joanna and Graham, © British Red Cross

On a quiet Sunday morning Joanna’s husband Graham’s heart suddenly stopped. He became unresponsive and stopped breathing. Luckily, Joanna knew what to do and used her first aid skills saved his life.

“My first thought was to run! My daughter was screaming. But then something kicked in and I knew what I had to do,” Joanna said.

“I asked my daughter to call an ambulance and put the phone on loud speaker. Then I sent her outside to wait for the ambulance.”

Luckily, Joanna had learned first aid so she knew how to help her husband.

“I started doing chest compressions (CPR) and the emergency call handler on the phone counted me through sets of 30,” she explained.

“You have to be quite rigorous when you’re doing them, going about a third of the way into the body.

“The ambulance arrived after about eleven minutes and the crew came in.

“I literally remember standing there. I knew my arms were so sore from doing the chest compressions.

“It was the most terrifying eleven minutes of my life, but I would do it again, and again and again.

“And not just for my husband, for anyone who needed it. Because no matter who needs help, someone loves that person, it’s someone’s husband or son or daughter.”

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First aid in school: saving lives will be on the curriculum

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Eight-year-old Stephen stands in his school uniform holding a sign that says 'I can save a life so can you'

Stephen learned first aid in schools and saved a woman’s life © Mike Poloway/UNPChristchurch School, Skipton. 4 December 2017. Stephen Orbeldaze.

Great news! The government is planning to add first aid to the school curriculum in England.

Years of campaigning by the British Red Cross and other organisations are finally paying off. Children and young people will now get the skills they need to save a life.

Why is first aid in school so important?

British Red Cross research found that more than nine in ten adults (95%)* would not be able, confident or willing to help in three life-threatening first aid emergencies.

Teaching first aid in schools will help change this. We want everyone to know how to save a life.

But does first aid education in school really work?

Yes. Red Cross teaching resources have helped children and young people learn first aid in school for years.

So we know that children who learn first aid go on to use it. These real-life stories of young first aiders show how this works.

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Amanda saved her grandad after learning first aid

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Amanda stands with her arm on the shoulder of her grandada, who she helped with first aid when he was bleeding heavily

Amanda and her grandad © Mike Poloway/British Red Cross

It was a peaceful Sunday at home. But when there was a sudden emergency, Amanda knew how to help her grandad when he needed it most.

“I was in my house with my family, my boyfriend and my grandad. He’d come round for a visit and a cup of tea on a Sunday afternoon,” Amanda said.

“After a while, my grandad went up the stairs and a few moments later I heard him shouting my name.

“There hadn’t been a bang or anything, so I didn’t know at this stage he had fallen. But when I got to the bottom of the stairs he was propped up on the wall at the top.

“I could tell something was wrong. As I went up towards him he pulled up his trouser leg, and all this blood spurted all over the wall.

“He said he’d just lost his footing on the top step and fallen. He’d cut himself on the edge of the stair.”

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‘Knowing first aid helped me save a motorcyclist’s life’

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Helen Cowen used her first aid skills to save the life of a motorcyclist who crashed outside her home.

Not everyone could handle the sight of a bloodied motorcyclist with a badly severed leg. Helen Cowan could, and her first aid knowledge saved a man’s life.

“I had decided to sit in the garden one evening when I heard a loud crash,” Helen said.

“At first I thought something had fallen from our recently renovated house. But as I walked to the front of the house, I could see a small crowd gathered on the pavement outside.”

The scene outside her house was upsetting.

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Royal Weddings, Winston Churchill and me

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A plate of cupcakes with brightly coloured icing and decorations, including a picture of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for the royal wedding

© Sunlight Photography/istock

The British Red Cross has played a special part in many Royal Weddings. The celebrations for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are no exception. As we get ready for 19 May, peek down the aisle back to the 1960s and hear from the people who were there…

TV’s first Royal Wedding: 1960

The first Royal Wedding to be televised was in May 1960. More than 20 million people tuned in to watch the black and white images of Princess Margaret marrying Antony Armstrong-Jones.

The Red Cross’s Mrs S.H. McFadyen had a ringside seat in Westminster Abbey. She described the vivid colours of the ceremony for a Red Cross magazine.

“H.M. The Queen’s long dress was of vivid blue, that of the Queen Mother was gold lace with a mass of fawn ospreys on her hat.”

Princess Margaret “was in every meaning of the word a Fairy Tale bride, her dress so simple, and her veil off her face. The Duke of Edinburgh talked to her all the way up the aisle.”

Guests included Sir Winston Churchill, who “looked frail, but he was there.”

Mrs McFadyen also described the striking outfits on display in the abbey.

“Some of the hats of the guests had to be seen to be believed, and it was a wonderful sight to see the most gorgeous sari, from India, and the gay costumes worn by representatives of distant lands.”

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