Katie’s story: “My first aid knowledge came straight back to me”

From left: George Gleghorn, Leanne Nancarrow, Maureen Gleghorn and Katie Jones. Photo credit Martin Elvery.

In the event of a sudden accident or illness, the first person on the scene must know what to do and be confident to act quickly.

Thanks to her first aid training, Katie Jones knew what to do when someone collapsed in the bingo club she works at.

Helping someone who is unresponsive and not breathing

Katie was working on the front desk when she heard an announcement asking for a first aider to attend the main bingo hall.

Her colleague Leanne, who had been doing a stock take, also heard the announcement and they both quickly made their way to the scene.

"We discovered one of our regular customers, Maureen, had collapsed underneath a table and chairs," Katie said.

"Leanne and I assessed the situation; Maureen wasn't responding and had irregular breathing. We quickly realised how serious it really was."

Katie did her best to remain calm and call for an ambulance. "I handed the phone to Leanne, who stayed on the phone to the emergency call handler," she said.

"As Maureen was unresponsive and not breathing, I remembered from my first aid course that I needed to give her chest compressions.

"I continued to give Maureen cycles of 30 chest compressions and two breaths with the support of Leanne and the emergency services operator.

"Shortly after, the emergency services arrived and took over. Leanne and I both told the ambulance crew all they needed to know.

"I then tried to contact Maureen's family to ensure they could be at the hospital when she arrived there."

Maureen was transferred to hospital, where she had surgery. Five weeks later, she returned home and has since made a full recovery.

The importance of first aid

Even as a trained first aider, Katie found it hard to believe what had happened.

"It's strange when you speak to someone regularly – you never think you will be in that kind of situation with them," she said.

"You think you might have to put a plaster on someone's finger one time, you don't imagine anything like this. 

"But in that moment, the first aid knowledge came straight back to me."

Get the skills and confidence to act

Our first aid courses give you the skills and confidence to respond to a range of emergencies, including how to help someone who is:

  • unresponsive and not breathing
    (plus how to use an automated external defibrillator/AED)
  • unresponsive and breathing.

Find out more

© British Red Cross 2019