The School of Environment and Technology staff really go the extra mile for their colleagues and students. Over two stormy days several members of the school’s academic and technical team braved high winds and rain to learn the ins and outs of emergency first aid response in the wilderness. The setting was Wood Mills Nature Reserve near Henfield in West Sussex. The team battled the elements to get to grips with handling severed limbs, cardiac arrests, seizures, head injuries and even paper cuts. Academic life, in all its forms, can get messy.
Our aim was to ensure that the field trips we undertake as part of our students’ learning, give as much focus (if not more) on safety as to academic rigour and practical skills. Given that our Geography, Geology, Ecology and Environmental Sciences students will participate in residential experiences that can include remote locations in Brazil, South Africa, Spain, Morocco and Sicily, we are always updating the skillsets of the team to ensure everyone’s welfare is prioritised.
Activities on the two day training course included diagnosing and stabilising hypothermia, building stretchers from on-hand materials and using tourniquets to remedy more severe injuries. We learnt, amongst many things, to identify if an unconscious person is ‘snoring’. This indicates a restricted airway, and the approach is to gently tip their jaw up and forward to open up their airway. Even basic manoeuvres such as this can save a person’s life.
Our expert tutors Andy and Sean from Emergency Life Support Team, went the whole hog to make the more extreme learning scenarios as realistic as possible – including staging lost limbs to chainsaw accidents.
Safely back in doors for a debrief at the end of day two, limbs reattached, we all agreed that there is no such thing as over preparation – whether applied to field trip risk assessments; or for the student group presentations at the end of each learning activity. And we also all now know for sure that where you find a defibrillator you will surely find a razor…