Can Gazi’s – “A Cup of Conversation” – with CESV

By Margaret Sheard

Can Gazi and guests face the camera
Can Gazi and guests face the camera

Last weekend, BRT2 TV’s Can Gazi interviewed Claire Lamb and Steve Collard from CESV who do such vital work with training and encouraging ordinary citizens to have some knowledge of how to deal with an emergency with basic first aid. Claire told Can that she had a personal experience when her mother was here on holiday and collapsed, thankfully she was ok but as Claire pointed out, it could have been a lot worse if she had not had some knowledge of what to do and there will always be instances of a scenario where some immediate action could save a person’s life.

Before getting to grips with the organisation, Can asked Claire and Steve a little about themselves. Claire said she and her husband were told about a property for sale in North Cyprus, they saw pictures and had information sent to them and it all looked fine and Claire’s husband visited and made the purchase, so Claire moved to North Cyprus 5 years ago to a property she had not previously seen but it lived up to all expectations and they made the right decision. Having some spare time on her hands and wanting to give something back to the community, Claire joined the CESV organisation 3 years ago.

Claire Lamb and Steve Collard on BRT2 TV
Claire Lamb and Steve Collard on BRT2 TV

Steve Collard is the Director of Operations for the organisation. Steve came to North Cyprus for holidays from 1999 onwards and in 2006 decided to move here permanently. He had served for 30 years with the Police Force in the UK and in this respect had up to date first aid training. When Steve first joined CESV, Terry Carter was the Operations Director and they worked closely together to promote training in North Cyprus. When Terry decided to move back to the UK, Steve was the obvious choice to take over the reins.

Claire mentioned one of the local restaurants where the owner recognised the good sense in having his staff trained in first aid to deal with accidents etc. and this was carried out. There was a case however where this particular owner did have an emergency to deal with and he followed his training to deal with it, but he did say after he had done what he could he really didn’t know what to do next and so has asked CESV to give some further training to himself and his staff. Claire said they are trying to encourage other restaurants to undergo some basic training so that they can deal with an emergency should one of their customers become unwell.

Can had many questions to ask, one of which was the standard of training and he was told that this is to UK standards, CESV are registered with the Association of First Aiders in the UK and qualifications gained here will stand in good stead both in the UK and Europe. Steve said that CESV work with the State Hospitals and just before Terry Carter returned to the UAoFA QualificationsK they had been giving training at the Fire Stations. Not many people realise that CESV/112 have been working alongside Sivil Savunma (Civil Defence) with cross training exercises for many years and are even invited to be part of the parade on Independence Day in the TRNC.

Emphasising the importance of first aid knowledge, CESV have previously visited the English School of Kyrenia and given basic first aid training to 60 young children and will be going back again this year to continue training youngsters. There are also 2 State schools which are to be visited to give first aid training.

Claire gave some information about what CESV do as part of their normal routine with attendance at various events, one of the difficult ones being the Girne Amphitheatre where there is likely to be a large audience so the space available is restricted and also if CESV need to deal with an accident they are working in semi-darkness so it is always hoped that their services will not be required.

Whilst training, there are many fun moments, like abseiling down Kyrenia Castle, training with the Civil Defence where there are many laughs as well as the serious matter of updating first aid procedures as new information becomes available, discussing new equipment etc.

BRT2 TV Studio
BRT2 TV Studio

CESV hold weekly first aid courses between September and May on the first and third Monday of each month at St Andrew’s Church Hall in Girne from 7.15pm to 9.15pm and would like to see many more people attending to learn the basic skills of first aid. There is no age restriction, everyone is welcome and even those who think they would not be able to deal with an emergency would be found something they could do to support CESV.

On 16th September at 7.15pm there is to be the first Open Evening at St Andrew’s Church Hall and CESV will be there to make people aware of what they do and demonstrate the use of a defibrillator and other equipment as well as first aid. It is hoped this will be well attended and perhaps the start of a series of open evenings in the future. There will be many items of equipment on display and also a demonstration of the make-up used to produce realistic wounds etc. and they are indeed very realistic.

Steve said there are 35 regular members of CESV at present and they are always pleased to welcome more volunteers to join them. The group is based in Girne but there are members as far as Tatlisu and Karşiyaka and the team will be pleased to travel anywhere throughout North Cyprus to encourage more people to be aware of the benefits of having some first aid experience.

Steve demonstrates Choking Charlie with Bob
Steve demonstrates Choking Charlie with Bob

The subject of fundraising was discussed and Can asked how they raise money for the equipment required by them and the local hospitals. Steve said that there are many ways of raising funds, the Friends of the TRNC Emergency Services (formerly 112) do a great job of fundraising with their various events, also the Car Treasure Hunt raised a large amount which bought a lot of equipment.

CESV have a dummy they use to demonstrate how to deal with choking, the dummy is named Choking Charlie but over the years it has become rather dilapidated and the team have now located vests which can be used for the purpose of demonstration on live people, to replace Choking Charlie would be very expensive and they have been able to purchase 3 of the vests for the same price. At this point one of the team came into the studio to show one of the vests and Steve and Claire explained the procedure to deal with a person who is choking.

There was a further demonstration of CPR and Claire used a torso to show how this should be carried out. Claire did mention that the torso does not have a name as yet, so maybe some suggestions will come forward for this piece of apparatus. Then followed a brief account about the use of a defibrillator and the need to continue CPR until a defibrillator could be located or the arrival of the emergency service.

Even a child can save a life!
Even a child can save a life!

The programme was drawing to a close and Can asked about the project “Save a Life – Give Blood”. Steve told him that this was introduced as a result of the realisation that in the case of an emergency blood is needed urgently and a dedicated phone line could achieve a very quick response. Therefore, this was set up with the approval of the Ministry of Health and with the sponsorship of Creditwest Bank and Telsim. A poster was designed by the children of the English School of Kyrenia which shows the dedicated number of 0542 8800 112 and this allows people to register their blood group with their local hospital so they can be on call in the case of an emergency.

Lastly, Claire suggested anyone interested in finding out more about CESV and their work could visit their website by clicking here and better still go along to their classes at St Andrew’s Church Hall which are held on the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month.

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