Newly-enrolled student Harrison was only 17 when he witnessed an assault outside a supermarket. Although young in age, his response showed real maturity – a response which may have helped save a young teenager’s life.
“Basically, I was at the supermarket with my friends getting some stuff,” Harrison said.
“There were some young people outside arguing, I don’t know about what. One lad was around 14-15; the other was probably 19-20.
“As we were coming out of the supermarket the older lad hit the younger lad once in the jaw, and completely knocked him out.”
Harrison instantly went over to check on him. He was unresponsive but still breathing.
“I rolled him on his side and tilted his head back to make sure his airway stayed open and that he could keep breathing,” Harrison explained.
“He was unresponsive for 10-15 seconds.”
Harrison also noticed the lad had cut his head from the fall. There was quite a lot of blood. But Harrison knew how to handle this, too.
“I took off my jacket and put it on the back of his head to apply pressure. Another bystander, a woman, called 999,” he recalled.
“He was a bit dazed but I tried my best to reassure him.”
As it was a lively Friday night, the emergency services were busier than usual. But Harrison did manage to flag down a passing police car while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.
“They came over and made sure no one was standing around, and obviously, because an assault had taken place, asked some questions. They left it to us to keep the pressure on the wound.”
Asked how he felt about the whole incident Harrison responded: “I wasn’t really scared in the moment, I was so focused on helping the lad and making sure he was alright.
“It wasn’t until afterwards where I realised how serious it could have been, particularly as he was so young.”
Harrison knew what to do because he had learnt first aid while studying sports therapy – a subject he has since started studying at university level. He has also been nominated for a police recognition award for the action he took that night.
DON’T STOP AT 999
The two first aid actions taken by Harrison were simple – and simple actions save lives.
A study commissioned by the British Red Cross and conducted by the University of Manchester found that up to 59 per cent of deaths from injury may have been prevented had first aid been carried out before the arrival of the emergency medical services.
Harrison carried out the following:
- turning someone on their side and tilting their head back to open their airway
- applying pressure to a heavy bleed to help stem the flow of blood.
Our Don’t stop at 999 campaign is asking people like you to go beyond calling 999 in an emergency, and learn these two simple first aid actions so you too could help save a life.
“I’d recommend everyone takes some time to learn first aid,” Harrison said.