Mock emergency teaches pupils about ambulance safety


A mock emergency was staged at a northern areas school on Thursday as part of a community outreach programme started by ambulance crews in the metro to improve community buy-in into the work that emergency medical services do.
So as part of the staged rescue, an ambulance with flashing lights and sirens drove right up to the Hillcrest Primary School in Helenvale and an emergency crew jumped out to assist a child in distress.
Not all of the little ones knew what to do - some pushed others out of the way to look while others covered their eyes.
All applauded when they discovered it was a staged rescue and the “sick” boy, Ashwin Koopman, 9, received many pats on the back for his quick “recovery”.
Medic Olben Klassen, who himself survived a robbery while on duty last month, said this initiative is one of the ways they are trying to reach communities and convince them to look after the safety of ambulance crews.
Klassen was joined by Lorisha Andrews and Clayton King, both from the northern areas, who are currently training at Nelson Mandela University to qualify as paramedics.
“I used to live close to this school - but I chose not to be part of the bad things that were happening in Helenvale,” another of the senior medics in the service, Denver Baatjies, told the children.
Klassen said they chose the crew helping with the outreach carefully.
“They are all from the northern areas and they all made something of their lives. We want the children not to give up.
“We want to tell them from the bottom of our hearts. Our job is not a job for everybody. We see everything. We see people suffering. Our message is: Do not let your beginning determine your end.
“It is a very rewarding job. You can even work on a helicopter,” Klassen told the children.
He also taught them how to convey information to the ambulance call centre properly when they need help.
“We also want to ask you to meet us outside at the address as it is often unsafe for us to go in alone,” he said.
King told the children of the importance of biology, science and mathematics.
“These are the subjects you will need to train as a paramedic,” he said.
Sports star Banyana Banyana goalkeeper Kaylin Swart also implored children to never give up.
She shared her journey with the children.
“Things may be difficult, but you must keep on trying,” she said.
She also motivated the children to try all the sport activities that they can.
Klassen also handed over a donated First Aid kit to the school.
EMS district manager for Nelson Mandela Bay, Brenhan Metune, said they will be visiting another school next week and plan to visit more schools soon...

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