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Internationally-accredited first aid instructor Bienvenido Quiocho has been working in the Middle East for over seven years teaching parents, carers and youngsters how to give basic assistance in emergency situations. ‘I started my career in the clinical path, as a nurse, but my passion for teaching first aid took me in a different direction,’ she says.

Quiocho and her team at The Perfect Help have been running courses for three years, including paediatric classes for teachers, nannies and parents. During the summer, when many children are at home, the potential for domestic accidents increases, but according to Quiocho, being armed with some basic skills can help save lives.

Wha is the definition of first aid and CPR?
First aid is the immediate care given to a person who has been injured or who has become ill prior to the arrival of qualified medical assistance. Cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a lifesaving technique useful in many emergencies, including heart attack or near drowning, in which someone’s breathing or heartbeat has stopped.

What are the benefits of learning the techniques?
These are simple skills that can save the life of a person. Remember, the difference between doing something and doing nothing could be someone’s life. That someone could be a colleague, a friend, a family member, your boss, or even a total stranger. Everyone can benefit from first aid knowledge. Not only the students, but also the community that the students are going back to. We truly recognise the importance of first aid and CPR in day-to-day life, whether at home, in the office or during recreational activities.

What do the courses involve?
The courses involve both theory and practical content. It’s important to have an understanding of why we are performing it, the individual cases, as well as the practical skill. We teach and test our students to practise the skills, and the courses are a minimum of six contact hours throughout the day. Our American Heart Association, Highfield and First Aid Awards courses are recognised by the Dubai Municipality, Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services, Knowledge and Human Development Authority and the Dubai Health Authority.

Are the classes suitable for youngsters and teens?
Yes, our American Heart Association’s Heart Saver course is suitable for teens aged 13 years and up, as long as the student is physically able to perform CPR.

Which of the techniques have you used most in day-to-day life?
For my 11 years of nursing practice, CPR has changed my view on how to save a life. Since CPR is the most important thing to be learned by all, I have to say that this is the technique and only guide that I have used to save someone’s life. I was in a public market when a man suddenly passed out. As a nurse and a lifesaver, it’s my instinct that something is wrong. I started CPR immediately while asking someone to call for the medical emergency team, and luckily saved a life at that very moment.

What is the most difficult thing to learn in first aid?
Practising CPR is where the technicalities can be seen. I think it’s expected for a non-medic to have difficulty understanding the technicalities and terms, though we make sure we break everything down. Also, for a lot of the trainees, learning CPR is surprising because they tend to compare it to what they’ve seen on TV. In the class we use mannequins equipped with artificial lungs and light indicators to guide them in getting the technique right. Some think that it will be as easy as it looks on TV, but they are totally wrong. Saving a life is never easy, especially if you don’t know the right thing to do.
Dhs450. Sat-Thu 9am-6pm. The Perfect Help, Aspect Tower (Tower D), Executive Towers, Business Bay, www.firstaid.ae (04 554 8059).

Good Samaritan laws
In some countries ‘Good Samaritan laws’ protect first-aiders who act out of good faith and without remuneration. The UAE does not have a stand-alone Good Samaritan law, unlike other jurisdictions, but according to article 52(3) of the Penal Code, if medical treatment or first aid is administered with the consent of the patient or if medical interference is required in emergency cases, then no criminal liability will be attached to the individual performing first aid in a rescuer situation.
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