Paramedic set to return to Nepal

Friday, 17th July 2015 – 4pm – Jamie Arrowsmith.

Steve Watkins -  Credit Will Oliver, Electronic Press Association

A West Midlands Ambulance Service paramedic is set to return to Nepal to teach locals how to cope should they ever suffer the trauma of another earthquake.

Steve Watkins, based in Stoke, is a member of the Search and Rescue Assistance in Disasters (SARAID) charity and was tasked to Kathmandu in April when the first of two devastating earthquakes struck the country.

He is now returning to the country as the SARAID representative to pass on advice and knowledge on a wide range of topics, all linked to locals knowing what to do whilst waiting for help to arrive, in the unfortunate event of another disaster taking place.

Audio: Steve explains why he is returning to Nepal

Steve, who is flying out today (Friday), will teach 20 students a variety of topics,  including what to do before international help arrives, emergency planning, how to search rubble piles, how to lift concrete and support search areas, first aid, water rescue and health and wellbeing.

The idea then is for the students to take the information away, translate it into Nepalese and teach it to approximately 700 youngsters of approximately sixth form age.

Speaking about the trip, Steve said: “It will be my job to teach them (the people of Nepal) every bit of information and knowledge I can, so they can be as well prepared as possible should they ever be unfortunate enough to suffer another disaster.

Audio: Steve explains why the first 48 hours are crucial in a rescue mission

“The first 48 hours in a rescue operation can be absolutely vital. So if the residents know what to do, and how to search for survivors effectively whilst waiting for help to arrive, the more chance there is of people surviving.”

On his first visit to Nepal, Steve spent eight days searching through huge piles of rubble as the search for survivors continued.

Audio: Steve reflects on his previous visit.

“Whilst it was a difficult environment due to the trauma and upset people were going through, my job as a paramedic helps with that type of situation as I have to be focussed on the task in hand,” he added.

“Ultimately, I was there for the people and you could see how grateful they were, which is why it will be rewarding to return and help give something back.”

Ends

Notes to Editors:

Picture caption – Steve Watkins (one from the left in the orange suit) is pictures on his previous visit to Nepal with fellow SARAID member Paul Inky (left). Picture by Will Oliver, Electronic Press Association.

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