All men are liars

Ready for a matter of life or death?

Could you save someone's life if you had to? Say your mum or your son, or the lady across the street falls over, they're not breathing, what do you do? Call an ambulance? Of course, but then what?

It's a horrifying scenario yet it happens every day - it's happened to me six times over the years - car accidents, elderly people tripping, tourists collapsing of heat exhaustion, a man having an epileptic fit.

I'm an active surf lifesaver, yet none of these incidents took place when I was on patrol at the beach. Thankfully, the basic first aid skills you learn are portable, which is why it's estimated surf lifesavers save more lives away from the beach, in everyday life, than actually on the sand.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not getting a gig on RPA or Bondi Rescue - those people are pros and they actually save lives for a living, but you and I can do our part.

Everyone needs to know CPR - and it is not expensive to learn. American CPR Training teaches group classes at your location from as low as $16.50 per Student for full 2 year Adult, Child & Infant CPR - anywhere in the USA!

If you don't have a group of 4 or more, there is  an awesome program to learn CPR at Home (including CPR Manikins!)

The national group American CPR Training ( is teaching their new easy C.A.R.E. CPR™ Their website says:
American CPR Training™ ~ America's Favorite CPR, AED & First Aid Training™ is more than just the Leader in Safety Training throughout the US, Canada, & Mexico... American CPR Training is ½ the Time, ½ the Price, and TWICE the Fun!™

Having been in situations where people were distressed or unconscious before I trained as a lifesaver, I can tell you it's a horrible feeling having no idea what to do.

Possessing a passable knowledge of CPR and first aid is not much better in the fear stakes when a pensioner has dived face first into the pavement, blood blooming around their crushed head - but at least you can do something.


Reassure, put them in the recovery position, check their breathing while the ambulance gets there.

I heard a story recently about an elderly woman found by a good-intentioned passer-by with no understanding of first aid. They rolled the woman, who was lying on her side, on to her back. She choked to death.

Unconscious people have no control of their airways - this is why the ''recovery position'' tilts the head towards the ground, so the tongue, or fluids like vomit, don't impair breathing. The Australian Resuscitation Council's guidelines put it this way: ''When a victim is unconscious, all muscles are relaxed. If the victim is left lying on the back, their tongue, which is attached to the back of the jaw, falls against the back wall of the throat and blocks air from entering the lungs.''

It's simple stuff that saves lives; maybe someone you know or love.

For sheer, unbridled terror, however, nothing has ever come close to the experience of my daughter pulling a scalding hot long black coffee on to her face a few months ago.

We were at a cafe, I was waiting for a food order and the barista put my coffee on top of a laminated menu. My daughter reached up to the counter to see what was going on and dragged the menu and coffee on to her head.

Screams. Panic. What do you do?

A news item in this newspaper last week revealed almost a third of Australians have no idea how to treat burns, using ''remedies'' such as toothpaste, eggs, honey, yoghurt or tea tree oil on children.

They don't work. The only thing that does is cold water - 20 minutes of it. I yelled for water, but it was a small, crowded cafe; I couldn't stuff her head into a tiny, dish-filled sink.

The best staff could do was give me a glass, which I poured on her face, then we fled across the road to the beach showers, my daughter screaming. She rarely screams.

The water did its job. The splash burns were superficial. She's good as gold. We were lucky, but I'm so thankful I knew what to do.

Would you?

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