Home » Man helped save fellow veteran just weeks after attending St John Ambulance Cymru first aid demonstration
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Man helped save fellow veteran just weeks after attending St John Ambulance Cymru first aid demonstration

67-year-old Kelvin Preece was attending his weekly veterans club in Abergavenny when one of his fellow members became seriously unwell. Luckily, the group had recently attended a first aid demonstration with the first aid charity for Wales, so the veterans knew what to do in a health emergency.

Kelvin’s first aid skills were put to good use when Dave, aged 84, became critically unwell during a Monmouthshire Veterans’ Support Hub meeting at the St John Ambulance Cymru Hall in Abergavenny.

Just four weeks earlier, local St John Ambulance Cymru volunteer Rhys had taught members how to assess a patient, deliver CPR and put someone in the recovery position.

Kelvin recalled how Dave was experiencing pains in his upper chest, which were radiating into his left jaw and shoulder.

“I instantly recognised these symptoms as a heart attack, but I wasn’t sure,” Kelvin said. Dave was clammy to touch and struggling to breathe, so Kelvin dialled 999 immediately.

He followed Rhys’ first aid advice, monitoring Dave’s pulse and followed ambulance control’s instructions to administer aspirin.

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“One takeaway I got from our first aid session was that chest pains should always be taken very seriously” Kelvin said. “We followed our first aid training by keeping him comfortable, warm and taking his pulse regularly.” Dave was taken to hospital by an ambulance and it was later found out that he was suffering from a cardiac aneurism.

Dave is now on the mend and although is waiting for an operation, he is back at his Veterans Club with Kelvin. “People underestimate how important first aid training is,” Kelvin said. “It has given people in our group a sense they are being looked after by one another.”

Kelvin hopes to book more first aid sessions with St John Ambulance Cymru for the veterans’ groups he is a member of in Abergavenny and Caerphilly. Although he had extensive first aid experience in the past, he has stressed the importance of refreshing these skills.

“First aid changes so much over the years, so attending the session was vital to do. I learnt so much and it brought back memories of various other training,” he said.

Kelvin is used to taking care of his community of veterans through these support hubs and can now feel comfortable taking care of them in a first aid emergency too.

Kelvin’s group have now booked a Defibrillator Awareness Session with St John Ambulance Cymru as part of the charity’s Defibruary campaign, to give members more confidence in how to use a defibrillator.

To book a defibrillator awareness session for your school or community group, or to find out more about the Defibruary campaign please visit www.sjacymru.org.uk/en/page/defibruary.