The East Amsterdam First Aid Society has been active in the Indische Buurt since 1941. For more than eighty years, people have been trained in the East to provide first aid to people in need. A thought of encouragement if, for whatever reason, I ever have an accident or be near bad. What does an evening of first aid lesson look like? What is the motivation of members, who selflessly invest their free hours in learning possible life-saving procedures?
MThis evening at 8 pm I will report as a reporter for the association, which is located in the Batavia Playground Association building in Tidorestraat. Teacher Sjaak Sneek has already stocked the room with the necessary equipment so that the lesson can start quickly. This evening is a review lesson and cycle training as a lesson. Six situations that you as a first aider may encounter in practice are implemented. This includes using bandages, dealing with the risk of suffocation, moving victims. Eleven participants are divided into pairs and have to work at each station.
Sjaak kindly asks me if I would like to play the unconscious without the lotus victim. Lotus? It stands for National Victims’ Awareness Training. The Lotus Association in the Netherlands trains people who can design, stage and faithfully execute emergency situations, so that emergency responders can practice. I learned that as a professional lotus victim I first need an EH diploma from Orange Cross, something that everyone here tonight has had in their pocket for years. That diploma is the main reason for them to take a lesson to remind themselves tonight. Every two years you must be able to demonstrate that you have still mastered all 24 skills you need for the Oranje Kruis first aid diploma. Therefore, the attendance of each participant is carefully recorded.
As an unconscious victim, I feel what it means to be in capable hands. The two service workers I hear talking about me should communicate well about their actions, because they are tied together hand and foot for the event. Of course, they cannot help me in a small way without proper consultation. Both of them check carefully if I’m still breathing, and then carefully turn me into a stable position on my side, with my hand under my head. Their hands on my chest and back to continue monitoring my breathing, then I wait for an ambulance that was called through 112.
An educational evening for me too. During the (short) break I hear more about the motivations of some of the attendees. Edward, a trainer (in training) who supported my providers, has switched from a commercial career to a driver/assistant in patient transport. A first aid diploma is a must, but I also find the courses at the association enjoyable. Mainly because it is an association and many members attend every reference lesson, 24 evenings a year.
Peter only started taking lessons after he retired, out of interest, because he had also got his first aid diploma in scouting. Just like Carin, who still works full-time, she occasionally works as a first-aider in small incidents. They receive this call from the Emergency Services Foundation of Amsterdam and Surrounding Areas. His last work was the last concert of the Prinsengracht concert series in Westerpark. Carin has re-registered for Sloterplasloop in October. Without the necessary first aid, such events cannot happen.
Eggie has been a volunteer for many years at a children’s camp where it is mandatory that some of the managers have a full first aid diploma. For years, he has been coming to classes at East by bicycle every evening for years, because he heard from a friend that the first aid organization at East was fun.
After the break, the experience of the cooperative members with the training cycle is evaluated. How did they get the suffocation vest? How did you go about making the connections? Each participant is discussed. Many people enjoyed being able to do all kinds of exercises again, because skills fade quickly if you have to put them into practice over and over again. For each task, Sjaak briefly explains how they could perform better and what sound they can use to remember the required actions.
Finally, Sjaak gives a riddle. As a team, participants must answer questions about first aid conditions. Like, for example, the name of a common disinfectant. If they complete the puzzle correctly, they will get the winning word with the correct letter. When all teams have found the word disinfection, the review lesson is complete.
A well-spent, educational evening in a beautiful, relaxed setting. Cleaning the room together goes quickly and everyone is out again by 10pm. Next week there will be a completely different subject, I hear, focusing on injuries. Then many pictures will be displayed on the big screen.
Starting March 4, the East Amsterdam First Aid Society will organize another basic course. Uwezo 24 is discussed during the evening 14. This is followed by the test of Het Oranje Kruis. An officially recognized first aid diploma is valid for 2 years. Some health insurances reimburse courses and membership costs of first aid organisations.
Take a look www.ehbo-oost.amsterdam/basiscursus for information about and registration for the basic course.