Today we had our island First Responder refresher course (for more details on the actual course held last year take a look here). Last year we had some basic training in "first person on the scene" techniques for medical emergencies on the island. Half the island have been trained and most of us met up again today for a refresher course. (And yes we wear this fluorescent jackets - a casualty would need sunglasses if all of us turned up at once. We're a bright lot! Tee Hee!)
Currently we take turns on a rota basis, 3 of us on at a time. Potentially we could be alerted via our special phone of an emergency, but more likely we will hear via the island network before we get the actual call.
Because Graemsay only has a lift on lift off ferry service it's not possible to get an ambulance out here, and even paramedics or doctors would take time to get to the island. So we wanted to be equipped for emergencies and, after the basic training, now have a "shock box" (defibrillator), oxygen and other basic supplies.
We have yet to have a real call-out and are all sincerely hoping it never happens. But it's good to feel we are prepared and have some training and equipment which may potentially save lives.
The Air Ambulance helicopter will be able to land in the field at the rear of my house and we are to be equipped with landing lights too. When there is an emergency folk generally all congregate to help out as if someone needs to be stretchered off the island all hands are needed.
Today we just ran through our basic training and did some practical exercises using the "shock box" (not for real!) and practised putting splints and slings on each other, guided by Lyndon from the SAS (no not that one - the Scottish Ambulance Service). I was pleased with how much I had remembered, but it was good to actually do practical scenarios rather than just "knowing the words".
So that's us "refreshed" for another six months now - let's hope we don't EVER need to use our skills....
Another website link - Mark Jenkins, a film director who lives in Stromness, has been working on his own project "An Orkney Tapestry" getting inspiration from Orkney culture and landscape. It is a "work in progress" but you can see some of the "video shorts" here