Wiltshire Publications

Westbury’s first class first aider!

Nick Wakeford.

Nick Wakeford

A Great Western Railway manager at Westbury station has been praised for putting his first aid skills into action.

St John Ambulance experts believe Nick Wakeford’s actions saved a baby and a young woman from more serious injuries when they were scalded by hot drinks in two terrifying incidents.

Nick, an area operations manager for GWR based at Westbury station, described a mother’s horror as coffee spilled over her baby’s head on 20th November.

He said, “It was frightening for her. You can imagine the mum’s panic and the distress to the baby – she was screaming in pain.”

Fortunately, Nick, who lives in Trowbridge, had recently completed a refresher course in first aid, at St John Ambulance’s Bath training centre.

He said, “I did everything that I was trained to do and used a burns pack to cool the injury down as quickly as possible. We have since had a letter to say that the baby was fine and there was no scarring, so that’s good news.”

Just three weeks later, Nick put his first aid skills to good use again when a dancer travelling to London spilled hot tea in her lap. Nick was able to cool down her scalded skin and apply burns dressings, so she could continue her journey.

Nick added, “I can’t thank St John Ambulance enough for the training I had. It’s a good feeling, being able to help people when they’re injured and in distress, and the fact I could is all down to the great training GWR send me and my colleagues on.

“The way the first aid courses work now – with ongoing assessment through the day – is so much better than the old system where you just had an exam at the end.

“You’re thinking and learning consistently, so it’s fun, fast and you never feel like a fool – I was really wowed by the St John Ambulance training.”

When someone is scalded, you need to cool the burn down as quickly as possible, because the longer the burning goes on, the more severe the injury will be, and the longer it may take to heal.

Nick’s St John Ambulance trainer, Alan Shepherd from Bristol was delighted to hear his student had used his skills so confidently and effectively.

He said, “It is great to hear that Nick was able to quickly and ably help these casualties. Nick’s speedy actions in cooling the burns, by using a burn pack, will have prevented the burn getting worse and helped to ease the pain.

“GWR take their First Aid responsibilities seriously and regularly send their staff to our Bath training centre, to maintain their qualifications and refresh their skills.

“Well done Nick!”

A spokesman for Nick’s employers added, “We at GWR recognise the importance of having helpful, friendly and well trained staff and invest in them to maintain their skills.

“Nick’s quick reactions helped prevent a more serious incident, and we are very proud of the impact our strong relationship with St John Ambulance has in the communities we serve.”

For more information on St John Ambulance’s work, including how to become a volunteer and details of training for the public, schools and businesses, visit www.sja.org.uk or call 0844 770 4800.

Above: Nick Wakeford, GWR area operations manager.