THE BLOG

First Aid on the Front Line

05/08/2013 12:52 | Updated 03 October 2013

The yellow fluorescent jackets are a familiar site at rugby games, concerts, sports events and gatherings in the community across Wales.

A constant presence at public events across the country, volunteers from St John Cymru Wales were on the front line at the recent Bruce Springsteen concert held at the Millennium Stadium.

52 volunteers were on duty, with men and women from across South Wales dedicated to providing first aid and emergency care for individuals at the concert who may require it. Doctors, nurses and paramedics are also on hand to support the volunteers in case additional medical assistance is needed.

For a headline concert of this size (25,000 tickets were sold,) the shift for volunteers begins at 5pm, where they are briefed by the duty officer and receive important safety information. At a typical rugby match (an international game, or when Wales are playing,) over one hundred first aiders will be on duty. The ratio is one first aider to 1000 people.

Duty Officer Rhodri Jones told me that each first aider requires the core skills to be on duty. These include qualifications in first aid, manual handling and in some cases, extended skills. When a major incident is declared (such as a terrorist attack,) St John works alongside the ambulance service to provide first aid to those who need it.

The command room works alongside event management, and each reported incident is recorded on a whiteboard with specially categorized magnets. The Millennium Stadium has four first aid posts on each level, with the main first aid post situated near the players' entrance. On each level is a volunteer at manager level, coordinating care and treatment when it is required.

Common injuries at events of this nature include trips and falls, intoxication and due to the hot weather that we've currently been experiencing, dehydration. Twenty-eight individuals were treated in total, with the highest number of people being treated for medical conditions. This was followed by dizziness and sickness, as well as minor injuries (such as cuts and blisters,) and sprains.

St John Cymru Wales has response teams that go into the crowd to treat individuals, and I saw this for myself as the concert was near its conclusion.

Seeing for myself the good work that St John volunteers perform day in, day out was exceptionally rewarding. Their presence is reassuring, and you know that if you attend a concert, rugby match or outdoor event, that they will be there to provide a high standard of care.

You can find out more about volunteering for St John Cymru Wales by visiting their website or calling 02920 44 96 36.