Rendering help to an injured individual usually means being trained in first aid and this skill is not a difficult one to master. Today, first aid training is classified as an immediate help given to a sick or injured person until extensive medical treatment is available. More than just a job, it is a lifestyle you adopt after having learned the basic do’s and don’ts of medical help. The methods you are taught to adopt become second nature in an emergency situation that calls for it.
As an event planner, we do our best to expect the unexpected. It is tough to pinpoint how many people may need your attention at a given moment. At best, our first aid kits hold the key items that allow us to manage a situation. In other instances, our training kicks in and we assist emergency responders to the best of our ability.
Having been certified as a first aid trainer, it really puts into perspective how useful first aid training is in our field. Bear in mind, as an event planner you are the first and last person onsite where carpenters, AVL equipment and F&B caterers are all present to provide the necessary setup. In some cases, these vendors can have heavy-duty equipment, use high electricity voltage and will be walking around in areas where accidents can occur. This is where situational awareness and knowledge of first aid comes into practice.
Being onsite is also a good test in testing your knowledge of what you have understood during your training as a first aider and are well-versed in the right methods to apply. As they say, practice makes perfect!
Prior to being trained as a first aider, I would rely on instinct on how to react. However, since my training, I am aware that there should be a minimum of 1x first aid box per 100 guests in order to be able to sufficiently tend to any medical issues.
One personal experience that taught me the importance of first aid treatment and also the importance of being able to react quickly as an event planner, was when we organised a trip for 400 people to Croatia. For context, our activities took place along a beach with guests having full access to the warm and inviting waters.
Having conducted an event there the year prior with no incidents, it was a lesson for us to learn when we had multiple guests requiring medical assistance for their casualties. We had sports injuries, cuts and grazes and even guests who had stepped on the spines of Sea Urchins. This allowed me to tap into my skills as a first-aider and think on my feet when I was unable to find items not issued in a standard first aid box. I also had to ensure that each step taken did not risk the health and safety of the patient or myself.
While this was not a typical crisis situation, it was certainly unanticipated. As a team, we had each stage fully under control. As a Senior Event Executive, this was a learning curve for me and a lesson in event planning. I was able to attend to multiple patients at one time to ensure that they were well taken care of and comfortable. At the end of the day, seeing the satisfaction and relief on each individuals face was what made me realise just how our role is in ensuring the safety of each individual. The gratitude expressed by the guests made an overwhelming situation worth it.
I would definitely recommend all event planners to consider first-aid training. While it can often be seen as an afterthought, being able to attend to patients onsite ensures that an event planner can de-escalate a situation and avoid having large groups of people being rushed off in an emergency. This can really change the feel of an event and the outlook for those who would be standing by. It also gives the guests that sense of confidence in the team organising the event. This goes to show that we as event planners (and first aiders) know what we are doing and are ready for what may come!