When one of our foster carers completed his First Aid training (online due to Covid-19 restrictions) he had no idea that he would be calling on his new skills less than an hour after finishing the course. Or that he would encounter someone with potentially life-threatening injuries just a few hundred yards from home.
Martyn and his wife, Sue have been foster carers for the last six years. They currently care for three children – a boy and a girl, 10, who are twins and another boy aged 9.
As Sue helped one of the children out with homework, Martyn thought he would complete some online First Aid training. It was the first time he had done the course as previously his wife had always been the trained First Aider in the house.
“In the past, only one of us needed to do First Aid training so I hadn’t done it before and was a total novice. The online course was very good, with lots of information and step-by-step videos demonstrating what to do. It was a modular course so you could start and stop it at any time. I’d just completed Seizures and I decided to take the dog out for a walk. I hadn’t gone very far from home – a few hundred yards – when I heard someone shouting for help.”
Martyn encountered a boy of about 11 who had fallen around 10 feet from a zip wire and hit his head. The boy was unconscious. He was having a seizure while being cradled by his father, a man in his late 30s, who was shouting for help. Martyn said:
“It was like Groundhog Day. I thought ‘I’ve just covered pretty much the exact same scenario in the online training!”
Martyn knew exactly what to do, telling the father to lie his son down and place something soft under his head. While Martyn tried to calm the father, who was in shock, a female passer-by called the ambulance.
In the few minutes before it arrived, the boy regained consciousness. Martyn explained:
“The 999 responder asked to talk to the boy and, although he was a bit dazed, he was able to understand what they were saying and talk quite normally. They said they wanted to take him to hospital to get him checked over. So, I left my number and departed when the ambulance crew was a few minutes away as there was nothing more I could do and it was obvious that the boy would be OK.”
By the book
How did it feel to become a hands-on hero less than an hour after completing the First Aid training?
“To be honest, when I was doing the course, I never expected to use what I’d learned… and certainly not that quickly,” said Martyn. “It just goes to show. I knew exactly what to do because I’d literally just done it online. It was pretty much by the book and it was great to see the boy start to recover. His dad was very grateful; he was in shock himself so he didn’t really know what to do.”
In another strange twist, Martyn later learned that the boy who’d hit his head had been playing on the football pitch with their children a few months earlier.
Martyn, the boy and his father have not been formally reunited since the accident but Martyn is just happy to have been able to help on the day and that the timing of his First Aid training worked out so beautifully.
He said: “Since this happened, I think that everyone of every age should do at least some kind of First Aid training. It’s important to know what to do (and what not to do) in different circumstances – if someone is having a fit or has a bad burn or whatever. I was really impressed by the course I did and I was just glad that the training was so thorough and detailed so I knew exactly what to do.”
Martyn’s heroics earned the admiration of his three foster children who are now advocates of the importance of having First Aid training.