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My training in CPR helped revive an unconscious woman

By Colin O’Carroll

I first learned CPR as part of a surf-lifesaving course in my local club in Melbourne back in the 1970s.

Things have changed since then, but during my working life I've been a first aider and was also in the St John Ambulance, so have had constant refresher courses teaching updated methods.

In all those years I've probably had to call on my training fewer than a dozen times.

But it is invaluable when you do have to use it. The most recent case was on a night out a couple of weeks back when a young woman collapsed and stopped breathing.

None of her friends had a clue about CPR so I stepped in and managed to get her breathing again until the paramedics arrived and took over. They whisked her off to hospital and that's the last I heard, so I assume she recovered.

She was with a party of English visitors, none of whom I knew, and to be honest I don't think I'd recognise her again if she walked past me as she wasn't quite herself when I saw her.

Having the training and knowledge also helps to keep you and others calm in situations, and rather than running about like a headless chicken you can actually do something that can make a difference - even if it is just recognising that someone has a problem and what it might be, meaning they get the right kind of help fast.

Having children, it also gives you more peace of mind knowing that you can help if they are injured or fall seriously ill - every parent's nightmare.

Everyone should have basic first aid training as a matter of course.

In many schools in Australia, and certainly in most sporting clubs, CPR and related skills are taught as a matter of course.

It should be on the syllabus in all schools. In my opinion it's more important than many other subjects I learned and takes just a few hours to grasp the basics, with more complex instruction available if you want.

Do yourself and those around you a favour and learn how to maybe save a life. As they say, one day it may be yours.

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