Marking World First Aid Day this month, Emirates celebrates 3,000 new cabin crew recruits who are now equipped with first aid skills, after successfully graduating from the airline’s rigorous cabin crew training programme.
As part of a highly successful recruitment drive this year, Emirates has already hired 3,000 new joiners who undergo 8 weeks of intense ‘ab-initio’ training in order to become world-class cabin crew.
The ab-initio period includes a myriad of courses from security to service, safety and emergency to hospitality, and the critically important medical response training.
Far from the erroneous perception of cabin crew just serving meals and looking glamourous, Emirates crew are trained to manage a range of situations on board, and this includes learning essential life-saving skills.
Using a combination of practical, in-situ, classroom and online learning, new recruits are taught invaluable lessons which prepare them for life, and to save the lives of others.
What exactly do they learn?
Medical training is provided to new cabin crew on all aspects of first aid including dealing with a collapsed casualty who has fainted, managing choking, recognising and managing breathing difficulties like asthma and hyperventilation, sudden illnesses like chest pain, stroke, low blood sugar, allergic reactions, deep vein thrombosis, barotrauma, decompression illness, and substance misuse.
Crew are also taught how to deal with injuries like fractures, burns, and amputations, as well as communicable diseases, the importance of infection control procedures, and on-board hygiene.
The new recruits are schooled in the life-saving skills of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), where they practice on patient simulation mannequins, and on how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) machine properly.
Using a specially designed medical mannequin, cabin crew also experience what it’s like to deliver a newborn baby on board, as well as managing death.
All training is provided by certified aviation first aid instructors, in the world-class training facility – Emirates Cabin Crew Training Centre in Dubai.
When there is a medical incident on board, cabin crew are supported by the flight deck crew (Captain/Pilot and First Officer/co-pilot) and a team called Ground Medical Support.
Ground Medical Support is a team based in Emirates Headquarters, who are available 24/7 by satellite communication to support and advise crew around the world on medical incidents on board.
From a psychological perspective, cabin crew also receive training on gaining consent to assist passengers, showing empathy to the sick and their families, staying calm, keeping the casualty informed at all stages and being present with the casualty until the situation improves.
They also learn how to break difficult news when required.
After any incident, the cabin crew are also provided with support for their own mental health, through Emirates’ Employee Assistance Programme, the Peer Support service, and Sehaty – Emirates’ employee wellbeing programme.