The First Aid Society offers you the chance to learn life-saving skills in an informal, relaxed atmosphere.
Throughout the year the Society runs tutorials on various standard and advanced first aid techniques and skills. Members are also given assistance with applying to volunteer with voluntary first aid providers.
Here’s how it happened: I was born in our front room with only my Dad and a mid-wife present – I think my Mum might have been there too – and, once I’d popped out and they smacked my bum, I didn’t oblige with the usual coughing and breathing routine. Getting a bit panicky, the mid-wife lifted young infant Cox (all six pounds, six ounces) by the feet and started shaking me like a rag-doll, but I only started to turn blue. Thankfully, my Dad – always fond of a tipple – had saved a little bit of whisky for a celebratory schnifter after I was born. Spying the bottle, the mid-wife told my Dad to quickly hand it over, which he did (I hope not too reluctantly).
For a moment, I instinctively started sucking – then suddenly coughed and began bawling loudly enough to wake the neighbours three doors away.

Looking back at this frightening little scenario just a few – ahem – years later, what strikes me is how well our mid-wife, a family friend, embodied the key qualities of emergency first aid: remember your training, keep calm, act quickly. My Dad says all he can really remember is a sense of blind panic and powerlessness, of things twisting away out of control. Imagine the terrible pressure facing our mid-wife: a new-born baby, still attached to its mother, quickly slipping away in the small living room of a terraced house with no real medical equipment to hand.
The temptation to just throw her hands up and scream must have been there, but apparently she stayed dead calm throughout. As a writer for the Red Cross, this is what I hear time and again when interviewing those who have saved lives or helped badly injured people: ‘The training just kicked in’, they’ll say, or ‘I suddenly felt calm and knew what I had to do’.
By taking a Red Cross first aid course, you could also quickly pick up the core first aid skills and learn how to save a life.
And, it’s worth remembering, statistically speaking it’s most likely to be your own nearest and dearest needing your help in an emergency.
Incidentally, forty-odd years later I’m a teetotaller. I hate beer, detest wine (vinegar by another name, in my book), go queasy at the smell of vodka or gin and haven’t been drunk since I was sixteen years old.

Mark brings you all the latest stories, news and quirky details about the Red Cross' work in the UK.
All sessions are fun and hands on, with members being given the opportunity to learn how to simulate casualties, including the make-up required! That’s not just some snappy opening line carefully crafted to grab your attention; I genuinely did the whole ‘not-breathing-starting-to-turn-blue’ scenario before the umbilical cord had even been cut. Sign up for a quick course, learn life-saving skills online or download our free mobile app. Something I hear time and again, when interviewing people for Red Cross news stories, is that just having even a bit of first aid knowledge gave them the confidence to act.

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