Breathing life

Maids in Dubai may wash, clean and look after your kids - but are they able to save a child's life? More importantly, are you?

Area Guides

Maids in Dubai may wash, clean and look after your kids, but are they able to save your little nipper’s life? More importantly, are you?

Sparkle and Shine are best known for providing qualified assistance for home helpers employed in Dubai, but the doors to their increasingly popular first aid courses, we have been assured, are open to everyone.

Even so, when Time Out attends a workshop for some hands-on, how-to experience in life saving, our class is made up of six Filipino housemaids and us. ‘There are no legal regulations that these housemaids need to take part in these CPR seminars,’ explains Claire Peirson, Sparkle & Shine’s manager, before we begin. ‘But we are trying to make a difference… If you invest time, care and patience in people, then you will get confident and loyal employees.’

She reiterates again, however, that the first aid courses are designed to not only shape, assist and educate housemaids, but households generally – Peirson is adamant that we can all benefit from undertaking courses in basic first aid and cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Her own husband, she reveals matter-of-factly, saved a life when someone choked in a restaurant he was dining in, just two weeks after he completed the course.

Not so much a case of whether you can do the course, then, but whether you can do without it. ‘It’s about how you want to spend your Dhs500,’ agrees Peirson. ‘On a new dress? An iPod? Or with us – to get peace of mind and the ability to save a life?’ We can’t argue with that.

We’re here for the Child CPR and Basic First Aid course. Led by Ruth Kellow, who has been in working as a licensed registered nurse for 22 years, we are quickly reassured that what we’re about to learn will leave us all able to cope with an emergency.

The seminar kicks off with a quiz of 23 questions that focuses your mind on all first aid-related issues (What’s best to do at a scene of an accident? What’s the first thing to check in an emergency?). From first aid and emergency contacts, to minor/major bleeding and head injuries, over the course of the half-day class you will find yourself picking up knowledge – both theoretical and practical – that will assist you in case of an emergency.

When it’s finished, Ruth encourages the group to repeat the quiz again – generally, she notes, there is a significant level of improvement between the ‘before’ and ‘after’ experience.

Memories of first aid lessons in school had a pre-course Time Outer a little concerned that the class might be overly dry and academic. On the contrary, it proves to be fun and interactive, with activities ranging from practising the recovery position with puppets to identifying different degrees of burning skin and knowing how to do an abdominal thrust – the Heimlich Manoeuvre – when a child or an adult chokes at a food table.

That said, courses are intentionally developed to be basic all the way through in a bid not to overload the students with too much information. On completion, we will all (we hope) receive a certificate 10 days after the course, based upon Nurse Ruth’s subjective evaluation of our progress (you need to answer 15 out of the 23 quiz questions correctly to pass). We’re expecting ours in the post any day now.

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