First-aid training comes not a moment too soon in Slovakia

Published: 12 September 2013 10:00 CET

By Silvia Kostelná, Slovak Red Cross

Last September, the Slovak Red Cross first-aid team took part in a successful training course in the neighbouring Czech Republic. Organized by the Czech Red Cross youth, it aimed to improve practical and theoretical first-aid skills. 

Throughout the weekend, participants had the opportunity to experience a range of realistic situations, both indoors and outdoors. One particularly challenging evening focused on how to handle injuries that could result from a road traffic accident. The weekend ended well, and with their training still fresh in their minds, the team headed back home along the motorway. They did not know, however, that their training would be put to good use so soon. 

After crossing the border into Slovakia, cars began slowing down and braking, and the first-aid team soon realized that they had arrived at the scene of an accident, with one car tipping dangerously onto its side. Without hesitation, the volunteers knew what to do. 

“We put on our Red Cross jackets, took our first-aid kits and secured the location with traffic cones. Everybody was surprised by the immediate presence of five first aiders!” says Martin Nydr, one of the volunteers.

“There was an elderly woman in the car that was about to turn on its roof. Originally, there were five passengers in the car – one of them an infant who was just three months old. We checked and treated their injuries, sat them down in a safe place and covered them with isothermal blankets.” A little later, the police, fire brigade and ambulance arrived, thanking the volunteers and praising their quick actions. 

The first aiders eventually packed away their equipment and continued on their journey home. “We knew that this accident could have ended with much more serious consequences,” says Martin. “I was going through everything we practised during that weekend, we were well prepared. On the evening news there was a report about the accident, we were proud we were able to help!”

Completing a first-aid course has been compulsory for those applying for a driving licence in Slovakia since 2008 and, each year, the Slovak police carry out spot checks to ensure all drivers carry a first-aid kit in their cars. 

The Slovak Red Cross has welcomed these measures, but there is still much progress to be made – only half of all drivers checked have an adequate understanding of first-aid skills.


Everyone everywhere

The Red Cross Red Crescent worldwide is asking for legislative provisions to make first aid training compulsory for every individual seeking to obtain a driving licence. Based on our experience as the world’s leading first aid provider and educator, we also recognize that first aid training is essential for all people at all stages of their life – at home, in school, at the workplace. First aid is for everyone, everywhere.