Parents of children attending Rondebosch East Primary School will be sleeping a little easier knowing that no fewer than 38 staff members now have the capacity to administer first aid in case of an emergency.
This week, staff members including teachers and groundstaff received certificates in first aid from Samantha Adams, a Rondebosch East parent and director of the Helping Hands Academy.
The academy is a registered and accredited service provider which offers courses with a qualified and registered emergency medical technician and first aid instructor.
According to principal Noel Petersen, earlier this year school management looked at its school improvement plan and embarked on a capacity audit in terms of its skills.
“One of the elements we identified was a lack of first aid training. We tasked our school safety committee to look into this. At first we wanted six or more staff members to have the necessary qualifications, so we went to look for service providers who might assist us,” Mr Petersen said.
“We found that this would be an expensive process, so we then focused on our parent body. Co-incidentally, one of our parents, Samantha Adams, performed this service, and offered to train a few teachers. But she then came back to us, and suggested we train our whole staff.”
After looking at the staff roster, it was decided that from the beginning of July staff would commit time on a Monday and Friday to the first aid courses.
“Incredibly, she did it completely free of charge. And I must say it has been a big learning experience for us. We soon realised all the kinds of things that can happen, and saw how important it was that we were equipped to deal with them.”
Being a primary school, children receiving cuts, bruises and even broken bones can become an everyday occurrence, which is why the training has been so valuable.
“In July we had a pupil falling on the playground, badly breaking his femur. I have been exposed to traumatic situations, since I have often assisted my brother who is a chief paramedic in Khayelitsha,” Mr Petersen said.
“Because of this, I know how important it is to bring a calmness to this kind of situation. In this instance, we had to bring the child off the wet grass and stabilise him before the paramedics arrived. It’s cases like these where the training will be very useful.”
The staff were also taught about the finer points of resuscitation and poisons that could affect the children.
“I think for our parents, knowing that there are so many people at the school who can help in these situations gives tremendous peace of mind. In cases where a child is injured, onlookers can create hysteria so the more people who are calm and can administer first aid the better. We feel extremely privileged that Ms Adams offered us these courses.”
Ms Adams said with her own child attending Rondebosch East Primary in Grade 1, she wanted to help the school where she could.
“I was very impressed with the teachers’ performance. And as a parent of a child at the school, it gives me peace of mind that so many can help if someone gets hurt on the playground or on a school outing.”