Young First Aiders compete to save lives

17 September 2014

Uniformed young people from across all the cadet forces assembled over the weekend at Strensall and the home of the Army Medical Services Training Centre to demonstrate practical first aid skills in the cadet forces national and inter services competitions. Army Cadets, Air Cadets, Sea cadets and Royal Marines cadets tackled a range of demanding and realistic scenarios both as individuals and as teams.

The UKs most ambitious first aid competition for young people saw 38 teams of cadets take part in four separate national competitions on Saturday and the Inter Services championships for cadets and young adults on Sunday.  Over two days 18 scenarios, mostly in outdoor settings, tested the cadets with realistic emergencies aided by dramatic casualty make-up. For the first time the competition was supported by Army Medical Services (AMS) which enabled some unusual settings to be used including a Chinook helicopter simulation. AMS personnel helped with judging and casualty simulation. In a new development to keep the scenarios realistic all team tests included a ‘handover’ marked by a paramedic. Concurrent activity gave teams the chance to practice CPR using a defibrillator as a team.

Cambridgeshire ACF with new team and new trainer emerged as ACF champions after a gap of 5 years. Lucton School brought Dollar Academy’s remarkable eight year run to an end by winning the CCF Championship. Milton Keynes won the Sea Cadet competition. Durham ACF retained their title as Inter-Service Cadet Champions and to complete a remarkable double Cambridgeshire ACF took the Inter Services Young Adult title.

A special competition was held over both days to test (and educate) cadets in CPR and using a defibrillator whilst working together. The best result was a tie between Durham’s cadet and senior team leaving no doubt about where the trophy was to go!  The handsome glass trophy called ‘The Cube’ was provided by St John Ambulance.  St John Ambulance also provided the very handsome Jill Scott Trophy also used by the Young Grand Prior competition - to reward the best placed overall youth team in that event. For 2014 this was awarded to Durham ACF who proved themselves ‘the best of the best’ in the Inter Services event but in future other youth teams may be included in the selection process.

Prizes were presented on Saturday by Lieutenant General (retired) Louis Lillywhite, former Surgeon General and now Chief Medical Officer of St John Ambulance.

Major General Chris Callow, late Royal Army Medical Corps and until recently Honorary Colonel of Yorkshire North & West ACF, presented the Inter Services trophies on Sunday.

Lt Col Alan Sharkey, ACFA’s first aid advisor, said “this is not just another competition – training in practical scenarios is part of the system of effective first aid training and essential in giving cadets skills and confidence in handling real life trauma”. Colonel Sharkey added that some 60 cadets every year are recognised through ACFA for stepping forward and tackling real life emergencies”.