First aid training makes perfect cents for saving lives

A TEENAGER who had only just finished a first aid course potentially saved the life of a woman at a Cairns nightclub – with the help of a five cent coin.

Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators (AMPTO) crown-of-thorns eradication program trainee Sophia Horler was partying at Gilligan’s nightclub on Grafton St on Saturday about 10pm.

When the 18-year-old went to the toilets, a group of women was standing outside a locked stall where another woman had passed out.

“You could see her feet poking out the end of the stall,’’ Ms Horler said.

“I asked how long she’d been in there, and apparently it had been a while, so I thought I’d better get her out.”

The plucky teen, who had only just completed her first aid course through AMPTO the previous day, managed to unlock the door using a five cent coin.

“I just looked at the handle and realised I needed something small,’’ she said.

“I usually carry my keys around with me, but didn’t have them, so tried a 20 cent coin and found it was too big, so tried again with a five cent coin.”

Once the door was open, the woman, in her early 20s, was found to have a mouthful of vomit and was semi-conscious on the floor.

Ms Horler relied upon her fresh training to clear the woman’s airway and roll her into a recovery position.

“Once I did that, she started stirring a little bit,’’ she said.

“We went and got one of the Gilligan’s workers and they called an ambulance.

“They came and got a wheelchair and congratulated me for doing a good job.”

Paramedics say the woman was at real risk of choking.

Ms Horler said she acted because no one else seemed to be helping the woman.

Ms Horler is one of 30 trainees in the COTS eradication program, created by AMPTO with funding from the State Government’s Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative. Crown-of-thorns (COTS) targeted control program project manager Steve Moon said those involved with the program were no strangers to helping out in emergencies.

A COTS crew helped save the life of a young Gordonvale man who was found clinging to a navigation buoy 30km off Cairns in September and trainees also assisted with a near-drowning incident on-board a local dive vessel.

“I’ve just really proud of the fact that trainees have taken their training seriously and applied it in a real-life situation,’’ he said.

Great fast thinking from this first aid student. We hope that our students who complete first aid courses in Canberra with Canberra First Aid are as fast thinking and helpful when they come across casualties in need. Book in now to one of our first aid courses in Canberra and receive 5% off the advertised price.

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