Fetch a stretcher!

The Finnish Red Cross turns 140 years today. The theme for the following week will be “Know how to help”.

Personally I know the organization mainly from my first aid classes that are included in the wilderness guide studies.

Warming! The following images may shock more sensitive viewers! All of it is staged, however.

In the Finnish Red Cross training you can acquire an EA1 (First Aid One) card which is valid for three years.

Emergency first aid training that lasts for a full day (4 to 8 hours) I had already completed at work and with it I could extend the EA1 card by three years. And most importantly, this way I maintain the skills.

A wilderness guide needs a valid EA2 card as well, so we had two classes fairly close to each other.

We practiced how to handle an emergency situation in the outdoors. Everyone got to play patient, aid and the 112 operator. So we wrapped folks in warm blankets to shield them from the wet and cold ground.

We also went over what kind of supplies you need to build a stretcher when need be.

Building a man-made stretcher with whatever Mother Nature provides came in handy on one of our forest walks when one of us sprained their ankle. We then carried them back to school on our freshly made stretcher. All of this served as a reminder that it doesn’t take a 500 mile hike for an accident to occur.

All of this was obviously staged but it was good practice!

On First Aid One we had already carried a ski slope stretcher up and down a flight of stairs – which turned out to be fairly difficult, since you need to make sure the patient is okay while trying not to drop them.

We all practiced CPR to the point of annoyance, I think. But every step needs to be automatic when the time comes. Practice makes perfect.


Bandaging different sorts of wounds and cuts gave me the heebie-jeebies. Not because I can’t stand seeing blood but because the idea of bones and muscle and tendons sticking out of a laceration makes me want to puke.

I haven’t been in a situation that would’ve called for any first aid skills, except.. well, with Heikki when we were in Leivonmäki National Park last summer.

We also went through different seizures, episodes and convulsions. It was disturbing to see my fellow classmates looking like death, thanks to skilled makeup artists. But necessary.

Have you completed First Aid classes? Do you know CPR?

Additional info:

The Red Cross Week is celebrated globally from May 8th to May 14th

Everyone has the ability to help but on Red Cross First Aid they teach you all the crucial stuff and you get more confident when those skills are necessary.

You can also increase your readiness by signing up as a volunteer in their First Aid groups. As a First Aid duty officer you take part in different events and music festivals around the country.

Although it’s a global event, it’s particularly special to us Finns, since our Red Cross turns 140 this year.

Source: Finnish Red Cross.

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