Previous student of Asset College, Nicci Garaicoa, is a perfect example of just how important it is to keep your First Aid and CPR skills up to date.
According to the Australian Resuscitation Council, First Aiders must complete a First Aid refresher every 3 years, and recommends a CPR refresher every 12 months.
Nicci, as a Kinesiologist must maintain her qualifications, a choice which she was unaware at the time, would help to save the life of another.
Nicci was at Bribie Island when she came across a situation that was to change the lives of everyone involved forever.
“We were having a day out and all of a sudden, a little girl was being pulled out of the water in front of us”, Nicci remembers. “She was clinically dead, no signs of life and no one had any idea how long she had been under”.
No one quite knew what had happened but it was assumed that Kayla*, who was 4 years old at the time, had been distanced from family members at the beach and had gone for a swim.
“I just thought to myself, OK, I know CPR, Let’s do this”.
Nicci, with the help of those around her, administered CPR for half an hour. This resulted in Kayla’s* heart rate returning and her breathing on her own just 3 minutes before emergency services arrived, taking over from Nicci until the Care Flight Helicopter was safely able to transfer the little girl to hospital.
“Everyone that came over to us was just given jobs to do and I kept control of the environment, just like we were told to do in class”.
Nicci notes that during the incident, she remembered back to her training with Ian Hodgson at Asset College that she must stay calm and not be afraid to tell others to back off, allowing her to be confident in what she had to do.
“Usually, First Aid training is just something you tick off as part of your job and you get a little bit whatever about it”, she says.
“But in this circumstance, I felt like I had the knowledge and skills to do what needed to be done and keep that little heart beating for that amount of time”.
Nicci says that because of the training she received, she felt like she could perform CPR when she needed it but also notes that it really was a joint effort by all involved.
She has been in contact with the family of the little girl since then and she is doing just fine. They still try to catch up with Nicci every now and then.
In regards to her actions on the day, Nicci says, “This is what people can do when they need to”.
*Name changed to protect privacy.