SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Six K1 DIRECT members of the St. Maarten branch have completed their Emergency Medical Response Training facilitated by Windward Island Emergency Medical Services (WIEMS), certifying them for the next 2 years.
The dual theoretical and practical trainings were conducted over a course of 4 months consisting of two evening sessions per week of theory, and several weekend sessions of practical training and assessments. The group first covered an introduction to EMS systems, ethical principles of emergency care, caring for numerous emergencies and processes of the biological system.
A year after Hurricane Irma, K1 Britannia Foundation launched its Disaster Relief and Crisis Team called K1 DIRECT which was formed to fill the needs the foundation identified in disaster response on the island and in the region – in its experience with relief work after Irma & Maria. K1 DIRECT now consists of 40 volunteers on St. Maarten and Curacao whom have completed their basic level of First Aid/CPR/AED, fire safety, psychological first aid and disaster response while preparing for trainings in Basic Search & Rescue, Shelter Management, Crisis Management, Emergency Logistics and more.
Emergency medical response is an integral part of effectively & holistically being able to assist persons in crisis situations. This training explored roles, responsibilities, and limitations of an Emergency Medical Responder, which included topics such as standard of care, medical directory, expressed and informed consent.
It then dived into topics related to caring for muscle/bone injuries, resuscitation, respiratory emergencies, soft tissue injuries, bleeding, pregnancy, and infant care to name a few. The course concluded with both a theory exam and practical assessment to test the volunteers’ ability to apply the knowledge shared.
Iris Hakkens, Program Manager of K1 DIRECT mentioned, “We touched on a broad number of topics including not only common trauma situations, such as broken bones and active bleeding, but also emergencies involving patients with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, or cardiac problems.
The training was really comprehensive as we covered basic medical jargon, which is important for instance in relaying information on the location of injury in relation to the patient’s body, interview skills and questions, and interpreting basic vitals signs. This training has given us the skills to treat life-threatening injuries to the best of our abilities until the professionals can tend to our patients, giving them the best chance of survival and avoiding further complications. I’ve already had to use some of the skills learned on a few occasions, and I’ve unfortunately also been through the devastating experience of not being able to save a life, but it has showed me that I am capable of jumping in to assist when there is a need and to give someone the best chance at survival, and that’s what we’re trained to do.”
K1 DIRECT Volunteer Laura Bijnsdorp summed her experience with the training saying, “The emergency responder training held by K1 DIRECT and WIEMS was extensive and fruitful. It delved into many situations one might encounter during emergency/disaster situations. I am very grateful to have the opportunity to learn about first-aid skills and hopefully I can be of better assistance during an emergency situation!”
The EMR training was made possible by K1 DIRECT’s founding sponsor Carnival Cruise Line. Carnival Cruise Line has committed to become long-term partners in disaster relief and found it imperative to play a meaningful part in not only the recovery but also preparation.
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