Having first aid in an emergency can be priceless. But getting first aid isn't always free.
© Dood Francis photo
Margaret Lavhey practices CPR on a dummy during a first aid course offered free to seniors in the area on May 24.
A group of southwest coast seniors recently had the chance to learn important lifesaving skills at no cost through a provincial grant.
Dood Francis, chair of the C.N. Marine Atlantic Pensioners Club, applied for the grant and organized the training. The Salvation Army also contributed by partnering on the grant and providing space at the church for training.
"I asked, why can't the seniors do this?" said Francis. "I felt if we could get this course to 30 people from South Branch to Rose Blanche, if something happens in the future we might have first responders in the building."
Francis said many seniors live on fixed incomes and wouldn't have reason to take first aid otherwise, so this gave them the opportunity.
She hired Wanda Merrigan to teach the two-day course. Merrigan said she is used to teaching groups of people who need the course for work.
"It was the first time I ever taught first aid to a group of seniors," said Merrigan.
She said she had a great time teaching the course, which covered joint injuries, CPR for adults and children, and defibrillator use, among other things.
"We had a couple of seniors in the group who were 84 or 85 years old, so there was a bit of apprehension about writing the exam," said Merrigan. "It's not designed to pass or fail, its designed to test your knowledge."
Among the participants was Mary Seaward of Port aux Basques. It was more of a refresher for her, since she needed the course for work she does in the field of homecare.
She said her favourite part was learning CPR and how to use new defibrillators, which are being placed in public buildings.
"We were having a discussion about how there are defibrillators in almost every public place," she said. "They're foolproof. Anybody can use them"
Seaward said she likes to take a refresher every few years to make sure her first aid is up to date.
"I loved it. If they do another one in a couple years I'll do it again."