An international first aid group is needed

Leena Koskela
Leena Koskela
Leena Koskela

In the international first aid group, language is not a barrier for learning important skills. The goal of the multicultural group is to get to offer aid in different events next autumn.

Join the group!
  • The international first aid group meets every week on Thursday at 6PM at the address Salomonkatu 17B, Helsinki.
  • All foreign and Finnish people are welcome to the group, regardless of whether they are beginners or already have knowledge of first aid.
  • The meetings of the group can be followed on Facebook.

Michaela Tiefenbacher moved from Austria to study in Helsinki in August. She wanted to refresh her old first aid skills to be able to help in unexpected situations.

“The group has members from several countries, and it’s interesting to see the different ways how first aid skills are taught in different parts of the world. I’ve made new friends in the group, and learned more about Finland in the process,” Tiefenbacher says.

The international first aid group, founded in the spring, is the only group where first aid skills are taught in English in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. The goal of the group is to offer an opportunity to practise first aid skills for those who do not speak Finnish. In addition to the French, Italian, and American members, the first aid group also has Finnish members.

“Adjusting to a new country takes time. Getting used to the new culture or the new environment can be easier when you’re part of a group where everyone is in the same situation. It’s great that we also have Finnish members in the group and they get to meet those who’ve come to Finland from elsewhere. The first aid group wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t have any Finnish members,” says Craig Mitchell, leader and founder of the international group.

The first aid group helps in international events

In January, many members of the group completed the EA2 first aid course, which is an important step towards the goal of the group. The group wishes to get to help in events next autumn, by which time they will have the official rights of a first aid volunteer.

“We’ll practise actively for the next six months. The group members still have to complete the course preparing for on-duty first aid, after which we can participate in events and help there. We also want to complete the courses on emotional support, intoxicants, and communication. Our goal is to get to help in the same kinds of situations as Finnish first aid volunteers,” Mitchell emphasises.

Mitchell says that the activities are needed.

“When you’re panicking, you can forget your language skills, and it’s important to get aid in your own first language. The strength of the group is also that the members can help in their own language in the case of an accident. If a person needs emotional support, it’s significant that they get it in their own first language.”

“The international first aid group can help in events with a lot of foreigners. There are many people from outside Finland living in Helsinki, and we can also help those who don’t speak Finnish as their first language,” Michaela Tiefenbacher says.

Everyone is welcome to the group

Craig Mitchell is very happy for those who completed the EA2 course and says that founding the new group would not have been possible without the help of the volunteers from the Red Cross districts and the support of the district office of Helsinki and Uusimaa.

“Our group is enthusiastic and very motivated to learn new skills. There are new faces in almost every meeting.”

Mitchell’s wish is that more international first aid groups will be founded in the future.

“We warmly invite everyone who’s interested to join us. The participant doesn’t need to speak fluent English, since practising first aid skills consists mainly of doing.”

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