The St John Ambulance society is a volunteering society that aims to train students from any discipline in First Aid and basic life-saving skills. The society hosts weekly training sessions, social events, weekends away and a formal course to become a fully qualified first aider.
After joining, you can decide whether you want to be an operational or non-operational member; those who choose the former undergo a formal course and volunteer all-year-round by providing first aid at events like parties, festivals, sporting events and concerts. On the other hand, non-operational members undergo a more informal training every Thursday at the Union, where they are taught basic skills which cover topics like bandaging, CPR, using a defibrillator or helping a choking baby.
I joined the society last September and have chosen to be a non-operational member which has enabled me to learn a broad range of life-saving skills. My favourite session so far has been the one on CPR, where I learned how to react when someone’s heart stops. The session began with an explanation of what to do in such a situation and how to properly perform chest compressions and rescue breaths. Then, I was able to perform CPR on some dummies, which was challenging at the start, but I managed to get the technique right; at the end of the session, I also learned how to use an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) in a safe and effective manner.
Besides from the training, the society is also great for socializing and meeting new people. After every session, the group heads for some drinks and members get to interact and get to know each other. Moreover, there are great events throughout the year which include a Christmas Extravaganza, Otley Runs and days out; for example, recently, there was a weekend away at the Scammonden Activity Centre and a trip to Ilkley Moor.
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