One day. 26 teams. 1,000 Red Cross volunteers

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We’re finally home after an exhausting, yet amazing, time at the First Aid Convention in Europe (FACE) 2009 held this year in Oldenburg, Germany. Yesterday saw the highlight of the convention, a first aid competition held in the city centre of Oldenburg.

The day began (quite painfully) at 5am. Of course we were sensible and had an early night, some teams however chose to party into the early hours and suffered in the morning!

Then came the scenarios, I can’t list them all but to give you a flavour we had:

  • A van on fire after a gas explosion, we had to assist the German fire & rescue service. Personally I found this the most challenging; I had a casualty with major burns and not enough water to cool them. Our team leader then came up with the idea of using a fire hose to cool his injuries, genius!
  • A drunken fishing expedition gone wrong. This ended up with a man falling into the river.
  • An accident at a wedding procession involving a horse drawn carriage (With real living horses wandering around).

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Where’s my parade?

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When I tell people I work for the British Red Cross they assume I spend my time leaping from a helicopter onto a disaster area, pulling children from rubble while giving CPR to a nun.

Usually I do nothing to correct them because I’m a vain, vain man but in my more honest moments I tell them I actually manage health and social care services in Glasgow, Renfrewshire and Lanarkshire.

You should see their faces fall. They show the kind of disappointment usually reserved for my mum on parents’ evening. Or mother’s day. That’s the injustice this blog aims to tackle! More

Where's my parade?

By

When I tell people I work for the British Red Cross they assume I spend my time leaping from a helicopter onto a disaster area, pulling children from rubble while giving CPR to a nun.

Usually I do nothing to correct them because I’m a vain, vain man but in my more honest moments I tell them I actually manage health and social care services in Glasgow, Renfrewshire and Lanarkshire.

You should see their faces fall. They show the kind of disappointment usually reserved for my mum on parents’ evening. Or mother’s day. That’s the injustice this blog aims to tackle! More

Who really are refugees and asylum seekers?

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Recently on our Refugee Week, we wanted to talk about how people understand who they really are, without labelling them as refugees.

We started a campaign: Look beyond the label

female doctor immunising a childThis illustrates who we really are within ourselves. We are more than people think. We are real normal people with real feelings, understanding and recognised professions in our past.

I’m an orientation volunteer in the Red Cross; I have met lots of refugees and asylum seekers who have just arrived in the UK. Many of them had professions as doctors, engineers, teachers, and much more from their respective countries. And they still can continue being that if we only recognised them and looked beyond the label.

Image: © Christopher Black (IFRC)

The journey so far…

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First Aid Convention in Europe (FACE) 2009 is now in full swing and we’re having a great time! I’m writing this in a German Red Cross vehicle using a German keyboard, apologies for any spelling mistakes but it’s quite tricky to get used to.

Today has been the first aid convention; various speakers have been giving talks on the history of first aid and the Movement. There are also loads of stalls and I seem to have acquired a large number of freebies. Nothing beats free Red Cross pens or hats. Later today is the opening ceremony where all the countries parade around the market square in Oldenburg. I admit I’m nervous about this as I have to carry the UK flag which is quite daunting!

The weather is incredibly hot in Oldenburg at the moment and we are suffering slightly. Hopefully it will be slightly cooler for the competition day tomorrow. The competition itself is taking place in the city centre which should be a great opportunity to see Oldenburg, though obviously we’ll probably be more worried about the first aid!

I’ll try and post the results as soon as I know them tomorrow, wish us luck! 🙂

To quiz or not to quiz

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…that is the question. So, does anyone fancy having a go at the British Red Cross’ special anniversary quiz, which we launched for Red Cross volunteers and staff last month to celebrate the Movement reaching its 150th birthday?

I’m afraid the winner’s prize of a luxurious weekend for two in Geneva has already been snaffled. However, if you fancy testing your knowledge of our prestigious organisation just for the sheer knowledge-building joy of it, why not have a go at the quiz now and, whatever you do, DON’T LOOK AT THE ANSWERS BELOW.

For those of you have already pitted their wits against our devilish hard questions, the answers you’ve been waiting for are listed below. At last, here’s your chance to say: ‘Yeah, got that one’, ‘Aw no’, ‘Oh, I knew that…’, ‘What sort of stupid answer is that?’ etc.

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Help is just a step away

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I love working at the Red Cross but sometimes being on the 6th floor of our London office feels a bit remote from the work we do in the field. While we tap away on our computers here striving to spread the British Red Cross message our 23,000 volunteers are hard at work on the ground. They are administering and teaching first aid, supporting refugees, lending medical equipment to those in need, relieving suffering all over the world following disasters amongst many other things.

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