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The first aid charity for Wales shares safety advice for those starting university

With young people across Wales starting a new adventure at university this month, St John Ambulance Cymru are sharing their top tips to stay safe during Freshers Week. Thousands of people will be partying and socialising as they move into university accommodation in a new city, and the first aid charity for Wales want to ensure this is done safely.

Be vigilant when out and about

When enjoying the various events going on in bars and nightclubs, St John Ambulance Cymru advise you remain vigilant of drink spiking. Never leave a drink unattended and if you see a drink being tampered with, be sure to let security know immediately.

If you suspect somebody has been spiked, continuously check their breathing, consciousness and call 999/111 for assistance.

If you feel vulnerable or threatened in any way whilst out and about, many bars and establishments are aware of the ‘Ask for Angela’ scheme. If you need help, ask staff members for Angela and they will discreetly help you to safety. This can also involve reuniting you with a friend or calling you a taxi.

They may not be drunk

If someone is not waking up or responding in any way, it is important to check whether they are breathing. If they are breathing, put them onto their side in the recovery position to ensure they don’t choke and call 999/112 for an ambulance.

If they are not breathing, call 999/112. Follow the ambulance control’s instructions and start CPR. Continue with CPR until help arrives.

If you’d like to learn how to deliver CPR before you head to university, visit St John Ambulance Cymru’s website today.

Cooking for the first time

If you are cooking for the first time when you get to university, it’s important to know how to treat a burn.

Make sure to remove any danger and immediately flood the area with cool running water for 20 minutes. Try to remove any loose clothing or items around the burnt area and cover the area lengthways with loose clingfilm. If the burn is severe, visit minor injuries or go to A&E.

Look after your mental health

If you’re feeling homesick or worried about being in a new place on your own for the first time, remember that you’re not alone! Your university is likely to have student wellbeing services in place, so if you are feeling worried or low, reach out to them and get some help.

Remember to look after your own mental health by spending time outdoors and doing exercise, and look out for your flatmates who may be struggling. Moving away is a big change for everyone and its important to be there for one another.

The CALL helpline in Wales is also a great listening and advice line on 0800 132 737 if you need someone to speak to. You can also access the NHS’ mental health service by dialling 111 and selecting option 2.

St John Ambulance Cymru hope that with these tips, university students can stay safe as they settle into student life. Ryan Cawsey, Young People’s Development Officer at the charity says, “Whether it’s your first time away from home, or you’re returning to university after the summer, it’s incredibly important to stay safe whilst you settle.

First aid is a vital skill for both your mental and physical wellbeing. You never know when you might need it, but particularly when you are away from your home and family as we can be vulnerable.  

At St John Ambulance Cymru, we encourage everyone to learn a little first aid. Whilst at university, you could learn lifesaving skills and support your peers and the local community by joining your university’s St John Ambulance Cymru LINKS society.”

St John Ambulance Cymru’s LINKS societies are based in Cardiff, Swansea, Aberystwyth, Bangor and Wrexham Universities and are a great way to learn first aid, volunteer for your community and make friends.