Eight-year-old Stephen saves stranger
Because Stephen learned first aid at school, he was able to help a stranger who had collapsed on his street.
Teaching assistant Emma Brown was inspired to bring first aid lessons into her after-school club when her husband was taken ill after a diabetic emergency. She was concerned to learn that her own two children (aged 11 and 15 at the time) wouldn’t have known how to help him, or even what to say to the emergency services.
When her children said they wouldn't have known what to do if she hadn’t been there, Emma said, "This spoke volumes and it also made me quite sad."
Upon returning to school in January, Emma asked fellow teaching assistant Beth Akeroyd if she would be willing to join her in running a first aid programme. Beth was equally enthusiastic, so the pair set about researching teaching resources.
Emma found the British Red Cross first aid resource for children – Life. Live It. – and said, "I just couldn’t believe that there was something already available and ready to use."
Although a little apprehensive about teaching something new, Emma said that her nerves went out of the window when she considered the importance of her subject. The resource was also really easy to use, with session plans, videos, quizzes and worksheets.
Now, three years on, they both love teaching first aid. Emma said, "It’s really rewarding as the children really respond to it and they are genuinely excited for their lesson."
Beth added, "First aid also teaches the children resilience and a sense of responsibility."
It seems the children love learning first aid too, especially the practical activities such as acting out the different first aid scenarios from cooling a burn to applying pressure to a bleed.
Emma said, "There is a real sense of pride; they are learning a life skill."
Christ Church School pupil Elise said, "I enjoyed learning about how to keep people and myself safe."
Felicity added, "Because then you can help someone and be kind and also learn to be safe."
Putting knowledge into practice
It all becomes worthwhile when children put their first aid skills into practice. Two weeks after Stephen Orbeladze learned first aid with Beth and Emma, he was able to help a woman who had collapsed on his street.
When he saw the woman was unresponsive, he quickly went over and tried talking to her. When she wasn’t talking he checked for breathing by putting his ear to her mouth. Once he knew she was breathing, he rolled her on to her side with her head tilted back. He then asked his mum to call for an ambulance and they stayed with her until one arrived.
Stephen said: “I was a little nervous but I remembered what to do because I had learned about it at first aid club. I think it is important to know what to do because we should all help each. I am really proud of what I did."
Emma said, "He felt amazing afterwards and it was thanks to Beth and I that he had the confidence and skills to know what to do – that’s hugely rewarding."
The school has had an overwhelmingly positive response to introducing first aid lessons from fellow teachers and parents. They believe it is a fantastic thing to teach and that every school should do it.
If you are inspired by Stephen’s story and work or volunteer with children, visit our Life. Live It. website to find our resources.