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On investigating the cries, she was shocked to find an injured woman who had crashed her bike and badly hurt herself.
The woman, Debi Potten, had been biking to school with her 11-year-old daughter Leanora, when she crashed into a deep hole in the alleyway, falling head first into the concrete.
Sarah called for help from her classmates Aliyah Samson and Gloria Graham, who all worked together to give first aid.
The girls had been taught first aid through a New Zealand Red Cross People Savers course a few weeks before.
“I was wondering what I should do but then I saw Leanora with a phone and it clicked to ring an ambulance.” says Sarah, her Red Cross training immediately kicking in.
Coming from a family involved in emergency management (her father is a firefighter and her grandmother an ambulance driver), Sarah instinctively took the lead, directing students to go out and wave down the ambulance, as well as sending others to notify teachers of what had happened.
Aliyah and Gloria also played crucial roles. Aliyah reassured Debi, helping move her gently into the recovery position and asking what she could and could not move.
Gloria moved objects including Debi’s bike out of the way to keep the pathway clear and accessible for when the ambulance arrived and made sure Leanora was calm, assuring her that everything was going to be ok.
“The girls were really good” says Debi, “they asked all the right questions and made sure I was breathing.”
Debi, who works as a nurse, was released from hospital that same day, with minor injuries keeping her off work for a couple of weeks. She jokes about spending her day off at work, but in a reversed role.
“If the girls weren’t there I probably would’ve gone into shock and passed out. They acted more like adults than 12-year-olds, they did really, really well. I’m so pleased they were there and able to help calm down Leanora.”
Red Cross Community Trainer Kate Robinson is proud at how well the students she taught responded.
“Who knows how this situation may have panned out if the students involved had not done the course. I’m so proud of them all! I love working with students and knowing that what we are doing is going to one day help someone, that it’s making a difference.”
Responding in sync with ‘yes!’ when asked if they think their training gave them the confidence to act quickly, the girls all agree how important the People Savers course was.
“I hope it keeps going on and being taught for a long time…and that we get taught it in high school again.” says Gloria.
Sarah says her confidence has grown. “It was a good experience because now we all know we can help again.”
Red Cross presented Sarah, Aliyah and Gloria with first aid certificates, key rings and gave Sarah her own personal first aid pack, during an in-class award ceremony as a way to commend the girls for their efforts.
A People Savers course gives students at primary school level a basic understanding of what to be aware of in an emergency and how to strategically work through the situation. People Savers covers the DRSABC and how to keep a person alive, along with other basic first aid issues such as bleeding, broken bones, burns, choking and poisons.