Walking like a Penguin

Two penguins as if talking
Courtesy Hilary Backwell

Slippery Days

It seems every year here in the UK, we get caught out by icy weather, and this year is no exception.

Ice and snow, fog and floods, these all seriously impact on our way of life, delaying trains, blocking roads and generally making things difficult.

But delays and diversions are nothing compared to the personal pain and anguish inflicted by slips, trips and falls because of ice and snow.

Equally important, is how these impact on our overwhelmed National Health and Ambulance Services. The subsequent strain on social services when these injuries happen to vulnerable people is immense.

As a First Aid Trainer I know the consequences of fractures, so any way in which we can mitigate these injuries must be a good thing.

What to do

Learning from the experts is always a good idea. When the Norwegians suggest that we should adopt a different approach to walking on ice, it would seem to make sense. They in turn are looking to another level of expertise, the penguins.

Diagram of how penguins walk on ice
Courtesy of Visit Northern Norway https://www.facebook.com/NorthernNorway/photos http://www.northernnorway.com/

You’ll see from the accompanying diagram provided by a  Visit Northern Norway.

Simply modifying your posture and centre of gravity, walking on ice can be much safer and getting around in these conditions easier.

Broken bones, particularly hips, are massively expensive both financially and in lives. By copying the way our Antarctic friends walk, we may  help both ourselves and the hard-pressed health professionals.

penguins walking up ice berg slope
Courtesy Hilary Backwell

Although the current cold snap may not last, remember, “walking like penguin”, brings its own benefits in icy weather.

If the worst happens, it’s good to know that there are trained people to assist, until professional help arrives.

Learning to be a First Aider is a valuable social skill, not only for winter injuries. It provides you with the confidence to deal with more serious conditions, such as cardiac arrests, choking, burns and bleeding.

So, if you’d like to have that confidence, please book a first aid course to suit your needs, whether a fully regulated qualification or a more casual approach.

See our blog Help keep our ambulances free for real emergencies

Don’t play hide and seek – time is precious


Saving a lifeAED defibrillator unit

Do you have an AED defibrillator on your business premises?

More importantly do you know what an AED defibrillator is for?

If you’ve got one, is it exclusively for the private use by your company and employees?

Would you considered making your AED defibrillator available to public access, and registering it with the ambulance service?

Do all your workers know where it’s located and how to use one?

They’re going to die

When your casualty is dying in front of your eyes, it’s not the time to be asking the manager, where to find it.

Time is critical, and is the difference between life and death.

For every minute that passes following the sudden cardiac arrest, the chances of survival reduce by 10%.

By acting quickly and starting Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) immediately, you’re starting to circulate the oxygen remaining in their blood to the brain.

Sadly, CPR alone is nowhere near as successful as TV soaps would have you believe.

The survival rate for using CPR and rescue breaths alone is around 5%.

Have your own AED defibrillator

By investing in your own device you’re not only looking after your employees, customers and visitors, you’re giving them a massively improved chance of surviving an Sudden Cardiac Arrest.

By early use of a AED defibrillator the chance of recovery is nearer 75 to 80%.

If you have an AED, do you have someone responsible for checking and maintaining the unit regularly?

This would normally be your certified First Aider or the “Appointed Person” who also looks after the First Aid Box.

Finally, make sure everyone in your company knows where your AED defibrillator is. Don’t keep it a hidden secret.

If you don’t have one, please think about installing one.

We can help you purchase one, or provide you with a rental unit from as little as 99p per day.

Book a course and we can help you buy one and train you to use it.

Help me – I’m choking!

woman holding throatCelebration Dinner

You’re having a wonderful meal with friends, laughing and joking.

Suddenly one of the group stands up clasping at her throat and unable to speak.

Are you choking? Someone asks her, she nods frantically.

What will you do?

Firstly, you should encourage them to cough, this will hopefully dislodge whatever is choking them or causing the obstruction.

If that doesn’t work, provide reassurance that you’re going to help.

Get them to lean forwards and support them with your arm, then standing slightly to one side, give up to 5 sharp blows between their shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.

If this still hasn’t worked, be prepared to give up to 5 abdominal thrusts.

You must stand behind the casualty, bring your arms around their waist and bend them forward, create a fist with one hand and clasp the other hand around it.

Pull sharply inwards and upwards between their tummy button and the bottom of the breast bone.

Do this up to 5 times

choking on peanutsCall for Help

Still not working get someone to call 999 or 112, both these numbers work in the UK and will connect you to the emergency services.

Get someone to tell the operator you have a choking casualty and what you’ve tried.

You must continue with 5 more back slaps and 5 more abdominal thrusts until, either the object is ejected, professional help arrives or the casualty stops breathing.

If they stop breathing you must immediately start Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and ask the emergency services for the nearest Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and the access code, then send someone to get it.

When ever abdominal thrusts have been administered, the casualty must be checked out at hospital in case damage has been done to internal organs.

If you need a First Aid qualification or just want to find out more about our courses click here