Our first First Aid course completed

A dozen members of Velo Club Walcot completed a course in First Aid during September, so that we’re better prepared for accidents and emergencies on our club rides.

According to WESport under whose banner we attended at the University of the West of England, we were the first sports group to join a course under our own power, because we naturally took the opportunity of a round trip to Bristol to have a nice Saturday bike ride in the most glorious Autumnal weather.

Elements of the coaching which earned us a Qualsafe Level 3 Award included use of defibrillators, management of catastrophic bleeding and of course what to do when someone has a heart attack or chokes. It was a surprise to most of us that the purpose of the famous Vinnie Jones ‘Staying Alive’ heart resuscitation technique is not necessarily to magically revive a patient (it hardly ever happens, apparently) but mostly to maintain circulation until the Emergency Services arrive. It can – and it needs to – go on a lot longer than it looks in the movies if the ambulance is half an hour away.

Which is why our impressive trainer Brett Bader from Lifeline Training had us divided into teams of two and taking turns to pump the remarkably lifelike mannequins for a long and very tiring real-time period while remembering to ‘call 999’ first. This role-playing element of the training dovetailed neatly with our Cycling UK Ride Leader training back in the winter when we ran scenarios on how to manage the situation when an emergency occurs. For example, to ensure that yourself and the rest of the group are safe and given jobs (such as dialing 999 and controlling traffic) before necessarily attending to potential injuries.

Another important part of the 8-hour session was the choice of a First Aid kit that is useful but compact enough for a wide range of members on club rides and we’re currently working on a kit that can be carried either in a bottle-cage canister or some form of frame or handlebar pack. We’ll report back here shortly.

Meanwhile, according to club secretary Nick Rearden who attended the course, “It was about time we did this, really. After a number of relatively minor incidents over the years as our membership has grown, there was a creeping awareness that although thanks to the Royal United Hospital in Bath we are blessed with more than our fair share of medical professionals in the membership, we couldn’t really expect that to save us when the unthinkable happens. And anyway, it’s not just on bike rides that this training can be life saving.”

In you are interested and a Velo Club Walcot member, we plan to run this course again at no charge and the same time next year. For the qualifying attendees it’s a benefit of membership where we are using the collective and very reasonable annual subscriptions of £15 to increase our knowledge base and generally do a good and safe job of running our bike rides and events.

Here’s to more cycling, more safely.