First aid essential in rural areas

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 05:00 21/01/2014

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Farm workers are being encouraged to get first aid training after farm worker Rob Andrews used his first aid knowledge to save his own life after a crash on a Southland dairy farm last week.

The collision with another motorbike left Mr Andrews, 34, lying in the dirt with a shattered leg and blood flowing from a sliced femoral artery.

Emergency services have said without his calm, quick actions under traumatic circumstances, Mr Andrews could have died from blood loss.

''I saw I was losing a lot of blood and knew I had to do something,'' Mr Andrews said.

Armed with first aid knowledge, a piece of rope and a tree branch, he made a tourniquet and stemmed the bleeding.

These actions have been credited with keeping him alive until emergency services arrived.

The other rider suffered moderate injuries.

Federated Farmers Southland provincial president Russell MacPherson said it was ''absolutely important'' people in the workplace had basic first aid training, especially in rural areas.

''The reality of life in rural communities and on farms is that in an emergency, there can be a wait for help. Farms can be very isolated places.''

First aid knowledge made people valuable community members and put them into a position to save lives, he said.

St John South Island region communications adviser Ian Henderson said it was fantastic to hear St John training had played a big role in helping to save Mr Andrews' life.

The aim of the organisation was to have a trained first-aider in every home and workplace in New Zealand because first aid training could be the difference between life and death, he said.

''First aid knowledge is especially important for people in rural or remote areas, where emergency assistance can be some distance and time away.

''St John provided first aid courses specifically designed for farming and rural situations, Mr Henderson said. It was more common for people to use the training on someone else than on themselves.''

It's great, however, that this gentleman was able to recall the knowledge he received on his St John first aid course and use it to treat what sounds like an exceptionally serious injury.''

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- The Southland Times

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