Paramedic swaps patients for pupils on return visit to Nepal

Friday, 7th August 2015 – 1.15pm – Jamie Arrowsmith.

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West Midlands Ambulance Service paramedic Steve Watkins swapped patients for pupils on a return visit to Nepal as he passed on expert advice on how to cope in the early stages of an emergency.

Steve, based in Stoke, originally visited Nepal in April to help search for survivors when the first of two devastating earthquakes struck the country but his mission on this occasion was very different.

A member of Search and Rescue Assistance in Disasters (SARAID), Steve’s return was arranged when the charity Global Action Nepal (GAN) asked for help and assistance in being able to react better whilst waiting for international aid should another disaster ever strike.

Approximately 400 graduates from all over Nepal applied to take part in the week-long training course, which was eventually whittled down to about 50. The idea now is that having gained as much knowledge as possible from Steve and his colleagues, they can pass on the information to as many Nepalese residents as possible across the course of the next five months.

Speaking about the trip, Steve said: “It was a really rewarding experience to see the group absorbing the information, they were fantastic.

“They certainly knew more at the end of the week than the beginning and hopefully now they will be able to pass on their new found knowledge to many more people.”

Some of the topics taught included medical advice, how to safely search rubble piles and disaster preparation.

“Each day we would start by doing a test on the information taught the previous day and it was good to see they were listening to what we were saying,” Steve added.

“I’d never done anything like this before so there was a bit of thinking on my feet at times but when I saw them working together in groups to try and answer questions or overcome problems they had been set, it was a great feeling.

“I gave all of the group my contact details and will be happy to help them however I can should they have any questions.

“We still have volunteers in the country so we’re getting feedback about how they are getting on and I hope to plan another visit before the end of the year so I can see for myself how they are progressing.

“There are clear signs of recovery in the country which is great to see and I just hope for the sake of the people that they can get themselves back on their feet without any future disasters to overcome.”

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Notes to Editors:

Top picture: Steve Watkins teaches Nepalese youngsters how to cope with a disaster.

Bottom pictures: The youngsters put their new found knowledge to the test.

Please credit all pictures to Andre Carrando

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