Why is learning first aid important?

Singapore Red Cross Academy’s Principal Trainer, Mr Steven DeSouza tells us why it's important to learn first aid.

Did you have any real-life experience where your first aid skills saved someone?

Last year, a young girl suddenly felt dizzy and fainted at my church. With another person’s help, the girl was brought to a quiet place where I attended to her and assessed her condition. She fainted due to low sugar levels. I asked her if she had any other medical history. I elevated her legs to promote blood circulation and she recovered soon after. We gave her a sweet drink and she became much better. Later, a doctor concurred that she had fainted and what I did was correct.

A few years ago, I noticed that my friend, a fellow instructor, was breathless and perspiring at our office. I told him that he may be having a heart attack. Without any delay another colleague and I brought him to the nearest clinic just across Red Cross House. He collapsed upon reaching the clinic and the doctor attended to him quickly.We also called 995 and he was rushed to the hospital. He has since recovered.

Why is first aid important?

We cannot predict when an emergency may occur or when someone becomes sick suddenly. It would be quite heart-wrenching if that someone is a family member and you were not able to help because you do not have first aid knowledge.

What is the first thing you say to those who attend the first-aid class?

I would congratulate them as they are doing their family a huge favour by learning first aid skills. I would also encourage them to share what they learn with friends and colleagues.

How many classes do you have to attend to be first-aid certified?

It depends. If you are just learning for your personal reasons, then usually the three-day Standard First Aid course will do.

What’s your message for those without first-aid training?

Be prepared, learn first aid. It is like buying an insurance policy, just in case you need to use it. Your family will be the main beneficiaries.

Can you share with us a crucial first-aid tip that not many are aware of?

In any medical emergency, you have to be very careful about their surroundings when giving first aid. For example, in a road traffic accident, the danger in helping casualties will be on-coming traffic. Therefore, you have to survey the scene for any potential danger that could be hazardous to the rescuer, the casualty and bystanders. The safety and well-being of the first aider is important as well.

Learn more about our first aid courses here.