The need for everyone to know how to contribute to making society safer is now more urgent than ever. With everyday threat to public safety and security in Nigeria and elsewhere, I am aware that many people wonder about what they can contribute to support the efforts of the authorities in reducing the adverse effect of terrorist attacks that have become the order of the day. In recent times in Nigeria, it safe to conclude that every right-hearted person wishes to do something to either prevent or respond to any explosion emergency. But because of not knowing what or how to help, some individuals get frustrated and loose hope. But is I say all hope is not lost.
Everyone can contribute something against terrorism in support of government efforts.
In safety we emphasize more on prevention and it is noteworthy that with regards to the insecurity in Nigeria a lot is being done by relevant authorities and stakeholders to ensure that more terrorist attacks can be prevented. The idea of being proactive in preventing unsafe conditions is also advanced more by this first aid definition, which says: “First Aid is a state of mind, a proactive attitude and a set of actions and practices that seek to prevent, be prepared for and provide an initial response in emergency situations”. From this first aid definition, it is clear that there are a lot of things that we need to do proactively to prevent emergencies from happening. However, experience has revealed that we cannot not prevent all emergencies from happening all the time.
As a result of this we really need to be prepared for emergencies of all kinds and this case, we are talking about explosion emergencies. Each time I watch the scene of an explosion in the news, I see how helpless the casualties usually are. A large crowd gathers after an explosion, with most of them not doing anything to preserve the lives of those who are injured but still alive. Many are more interested in taking snap shots with their smarts phones to subsequently upload them on online media. Those who try to assist, handle the casualties in the most unskilled and unsafe manner. Most disappointing is that men of our security/law enforcement agencies like the Nigerian Police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corp and the like who ought to have these basic life saving skills do not have any first aid or paramedic skills with which to help to reduce the number of lives that may be lost from an explosion. All they do most of the time is only carrying of wounded and the dead.
It is against this backdrop that I am advocating that everyone who is interested in rendering some assistance during emergencies should acquire basic first aid skills. I have participated in training hundreds of people and experience has shown that these skills make the difference between life and death in an emergency situation. For example, one of the major things that take peoples’ lives during an emergency is their inability to breath normally or even breath at all. The first aid provider has been trained on how to handle every casualty whether conscious or unconscious in the best way to achieve 3 major aims: 1) to preserve life, 2) to prevent the condition from becoming worse and 3) to promote recovery.
In recent times first aid providers have been so trained to offer psychosocial support to those who are affected by emergencies. In the North-Eastern part of Nigeria, due to the frequent terrorist attacks, I am aware the Red Cross is providing needed training to communities, health workers and other relevant stakeholders to help them manage explosion victims.
My advice is that every responsible member of society should seek to acquire basic first aid skills. They are not expensive. These skills will make people not to be just by-standers after an explosion but they will be useful in providing first aid to casualties and this will help in reducing the numbers of people who may die from an explosion. Government should take it as a matter of utmost importance to sponsor the training of every security and law enforcement agent in every aspect of basic life support procedures including the use of specialized equipment such as the Automated External Defibrillator (AED). As a matter of fact, Government should procure such specialized equipment and have them placed in strategic public places including mobile ambulances. Corporate and philanthropic organizations should also sponsor people who are desirous of acquiring these life saving skills for the benefit of society. Let’s join hands against terrorism.