Learn first aid, save a life

Life-saving: Liz Martel went into cardiac arrest and her partner Joe Balzan started CPR. Anne Rowley trained Liz in first aid. Picture: Simon Bennett
Life-saving: Liz Martel went into cardiac arrest and her partner Joe Balzan started CPR. Anne Rowley trained Liz in first aid. Picture: Simon Bennett

Rosemeadow’s Liz Martel knows all too well that learning first aid can save a life.

When the then 47-year-old went into cardiac arrest one morning five years ago, her cool-headed partner Joe Balzan started CPR.

With summer around the corner, Ms Martel is encouraging locals to learn first aid now.

Many residents go swimming, have barbeques, play outdoor games, get sunburnt and snakes venture close to homes.

There is a greater risk of drownings, burns, sport injuries, sunburn, poisonous bites and more.

Ms Martel wants people to understand how lucky she was.

“The day before I went into cardiac arrest, I had spent the day in the sun at Warragamba Dam,” she said.

“I woke up the next morning to take Joe to work, went to the bathroom and then I collapsed. That’s they last thing I remember.”

Ms Martel said it was “very lucky” her partner was home when she went into cardiac arrest.

“Joe called out to my daughter Maisie who was in Year 9 at the time and he started compressions on me,” she said. “Maisie called the ambulance.

“Joe did CPR for about 10 minutes until the ambulance arrived.” 

Mr Balzan learnt first aid in the defence force and Maisie had completed a training course. 

“If my daughter had been alone she would have known what to do and she would have tried but I don’t know how successful she would have been,” she said.

“It is better that two people are there and any care is better than none.”

Ms Martel has also been the one to administer help. She once gave first aid to a man who had collapsed at a train station.

Ms Martel and her daughter did a training course with Anne Rowley from Rapid 1st Aid.

Ms Rowley said now was a perfect time for locals to complete first aid training or do a refresher course.

“Good quality first aid increases the outcome for the patient and helps keep the administer and patient calm,” she said.

“Usually people who are first aid trained are the ones to put their hands up to render assistance and call an ambulance.

“First aid courses also teach people how to use a first aid kit or defibrillator.

“In summer, drownings are the biggest risk and people should have the ability to administer CPR in that situation.

“People should also be able to recognise the signs of a cardiac arrest, know how to treat a barbeque or bushfire burn, administer first aid to people with breathing difficulties or help if someone who has fallen off their bike for example.”

Details on courses: www.rapid1staid.com.au