EMS crew ‘rescues’ pupil

Realistic assistance at school part of drive for improved community support for ambulance teams


As an ambulance with flashing lights and sirens drove right up to the school and an emergency crew jumped out to assist a child in distress, not all of the little ones at Hillcrest Primary School in Helenvale knew what to do.
Some pushed their way through to have a 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”.
The mock rescue was part of a community outreach programme started by ambulance crews in the metro to improve community buy-in into the work done by emergency medical services.
Medic Olben Klassen, who himself survived a robbery while on duty in January, said this initiative was one of the ways they were 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 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,” Klassen said.
“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,” he told the children.
Klassen 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 youngsters.
“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 medics would be visiting another school next week and planned to visit more schools soon...

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