accessibility & help

The teenager who’s trained to save lives

Meet Liam Mills, the first aid specialist who provides life-saving support at festivals and events – and he’s still just 16 years old.

A bit young to be a first aider, aren’t you?
You might think that, but I’ve actually been doing this for almost a year now. I already have a huge amount of valuable experience.

Why did you join the British Red Cross?
I’ve always been interested in first aid, so when I saw some Red Cross volunteers at a local event I went over for a quick chat. After hearing what they had to say, I jumped at the chance of joining.

What’s the big attraction?
As soon as you’ve treated your first casualty, you will never look back. I’ve treated many types of injury now, ranging from cut fingers and blisters to open fractures and even spinal cases. It’s endlessly challenging and fascinating.

Describe a typical day.
There is no such thing. I’ve clocked up more than 200 hours at all kinds of big occasions – such as the WOMAD music festival, Bristol International Balloon Fiesta and the Tough Mudder race. But we also go to smaller events, such as community fetes and rugby tournaments, where just as much can happen.

What have you learned?
I’m now an enhanced skilled volunteer, which means I have additional qualifications on top of my standard first aid certificate. For example, I’m qualified to administer Entonox (laughing gas) for pain management, or insert airway tubes to help resuscitate people. First aid with the Red Cross is a whole lot more than just putting on plasters.

Aren’t the other volunteers older than you?
One of my main worries was whether I’d fit in with the group at our weekly training sessions – I knew there were no other volunteers my age – but they’re such a friendly bunch. Age really doesn’t come into it. You’re put through the same assessments as everyone else and not treated any differently. For the record: anyone can join at 15, then treat people from 16.

Any stand-out memories?
My colleague and I attended a call that was a bit of a trek away. As we approached the scene, all I could see was someone lying perfectly still on the floor. When you realise that someone is helpless and completely depending on you to do the right thing, you feel this sudden rush of responsibility – it really gets the adrenalin pumping. But fortunately, our training means we have the confidence and knowledge to deal with such situations.

Best thing about being an event first aider?
You get to help people, while also enjoying the opportunity to go to lots of great events. It really is a win-win situation.

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