A Helping Hand – Student Leaders get First Aid Savvy

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February 1, 2017 by Student 24/7 Blog

Here are a few scenarios… You wake up one morning and your nose is stuffy yet runny at the same time; your throat is so scratchy, it feels like you swallowed an entire cactus; and don’t forget the cough! With every heave you feel as though you have worked in a mine for 50 years and at any minute you may accidentally cough up a lung. Or how about this scenario: You and your friends are having a good time at one of the many awesome events on Campus; and one student thinks it will be fun to dance on a table (it does happen), but they misjudge their twerk and (in almost slow motion) you see them slip and fall to the floor; and in the process you hear a crack and see their arm in an awkward position…

What to do… What to do…

Fear not dear student! While you were away last year; enjoying catching up on all that lost sleep from studying late into the night at the end of the year (or still staying up late and studying for Second Opp); our newly elected Student Representative Council (SRC) and House Committee (HK) Health and Safety Officers were preparing for such scenarios. On 22-23 November 2016, The Health and Safety Officers took part in First Aid Training with St Johns from Johannesburg to better equip themselves for real-life medical situations to make sure that if a student is in need, they are there to help!

Student 24/7 was fortunate enough to have a chat with Sinesipho ‘Sweety’ Zwane, the SRC Health and Safety Officer and ISRC Sports Officer 2016/2017, to find out more about the training and what it means to not only the HKs, but to the student population at large.


Sinesipho ‘Sweety’ Zwane, CSRC Health and Safety Officer 2016/2017

Help! I need somebody!

Having been a Health and Safety Officer at the Faranani residence during the 2014/2015 term, she has personal experience of having difficulty helping students. “This portfolio is one of the most central portfolios one can handle because it involves real-life situations whereby professional assistance is highly in need, or rather a hand of experience is needed”. With this knowledge, Sweety took it upon herself to ‘remedy’ the situation. With proposal in hand, Sweety began looking for sponsorship for possible training for all the Health and Safety Officers, as well as their sub-committees.

“Fortunately, Prof Linda du Plessis, the Campus Rector (Acting) sponsored the training of the 35 students, by the St Johns Institution from Johannesburg, and finally my dream was coming true”, explains Sweety.

“It is true that hard work pays off, and God will always be on your side when you are doing what you are best at, for the benefit of His people”

Getting ready for an emergency!

As with all things in life, the First Aid training consisted of two parts, theory and practical (and of course a test). The morning of the first day saw the students get the low down on the theoretical part what First Aid training is all about. After getting to grips with the roles and responsibilities of First Aid, the students were given the framework of how to identify and treat illnesses ranging from:

  • Casualty management: Shock, Unconsciousness and fainting
  • Casualty management: responsive suspected spinal injury
  • Adult resuscitation
  • Severe bleeding
  • Medical conditions
  • Secondary survey
  • Wound care
  • Burns
  • Bone and joint injuries
  • Multiple casualty management

Each chapter went into detail describing the different possible scenarios in terms of the illnesses and how to best treat each, as well as how to handle other people who may be witnesses, as well as taking into account the surrounding area where the person was injured or where the incident occurred. Yet, always reminding the students about their own safety and personal protection, as well as the importance of communication.

After lunch, the students were given a practical run-through of some of the possible scenarios that they may encounter such as responsive and unresponsive casualties that may be suffering from head injuries, spinal injuries, breathing problems and burns. Head-to-toe examinations and CPR were also shown, as well as the students being given the opportunity to practice themselves, as the next second day of training would include a theory and practical test before they could truly call themselves First Aider.

How can we help you?

Sweety stated a few benefits that this new training will have, for not only the Health and Safety Officers, but also for all the students on Campus:

  • Quicker action to all students who are in need of medical attention, especially more minor injuries, as it will not be needed to call the ambulance for resolvable issues such as cuts and other First Aid related matters.
  • Minimizing ambulance costs as less trips to residences for minor injuries will needed, and will then be available for more life-threatening cases.
  • Other costs for ambulance standbys will also lessen, as Health and Safety officers will be equipped with standard kits in order to do their jobs.
  • There will also be future student leader development events, as it is paramount to develop skills as a leader and offer the best service.

Keeping it up!

Sweety sees such training as being a positive sustainable programme, and will ensure that such training forms part of the culture of future Health and Safety Officers, as well as to all students. “We will make it a point to pass our knowledge to the student population by training sub-committees, and ultimately student development will be achieved through this portfolio”.

So the next time you feel a little dizzy, have a tumble down the stairs, or kick that soccer ball a little too hard to score a goal… Just know that your trusty Health and Safety Officer will be there!

Written by: Sinesipho Zwane (CSRC)
Edited by: Kinga Siejek (Editor-in-Chief Student 24/7)
Photos by: Kinga Siejek (Editor-in-Chief Student 24/7)

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