Looking After Number One - Bangkok Prep

Looking After Number One

The first ‘chapter’ in correct emergency first response (EFR) education is for us to assess the situation quickly. What has happened, what is happening, and what could happen. These are the questions to be asked and answered in just seconds. It will not matter how much experience you have as an emergency responder.  You will be under enormous pressure with adrenaline, whether it is your first rescue or your 1,000th.

Those that embrace this very uncomfortable feeling and quickly call on their training, will be equipped to act with confidence. This confidence is the ‘bones’ of emergency first response.

It was 15 years ago that I found myself in an emergency situation that called upon my EFR training.  Training that was first taught to me when I just was a high school swimmer who was also interested in coaching.

I was very fortunate to have a grisly old lifeguard who had been an Australian war veteran as my first EFR instructor.  A man of few words. When he did speak, his words were well chosen and were delivered with a weight that often made them memorable.

His advice back then was simple: “Before leaping in… make sure you too don’t become a statistic”.

On the beach that day, when I was placed in that ‘frozen in time’ moment I that gave me a choice of reactions, I did hear that voice in my head when seeing a life in clear danger.

This is the first part of learning EFR and one that must be passed on to students in any emergency first responder accreditation classes:  Look after ‘number one’ first.

When I have the wonderful and enjoyable opportunity of teaching primary aged children the basics of first aid and lifesaving, I ask them: “Who is the most important person in the room?” Of course, I get many children pointing to me and I do enjoy replying “Thank you, but no.”

As they look around the room quizzically searching for a secret VIP, I remind them that it is in fact them.  Each of them individually is the most important person in the room.

The first and most important step of any lifesaving action is to look after yourself and assess the situation.

  • Learn what to look for.
  • Learn how to act.
  • Learn how to react with minimal panic,

But do not forget the most important one… learn how to get out. Don’t become a statistic.


Matt Ferrier

Primary Swim Teacher

Bangkok Preparatory & Secondary International School

EFR International Instructor

IGCSE Physical Education Assessor









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BANGKOK, 10110

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