Laura Oakley

Laura brings you all the latest stories from the British Red Cross' work across the UK – from emergency response to health and social care – as well as West and Central Africa.

Posts by Laura Oakley:

Bonfire Night: First aid for burns

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Friends and family gather for Bonfire Night
Bonfire Night – a time when friends and family gather to ‘Ooo’ and ‘Ahh’ at the night sky as firework after firework light up the darkness with an almighty bang.

Whether you’re having your own party, attending a friend’s or off to a display, there’s a common risk that comes from celebrating with fireworks – burns.

But have no fear. We’ve got some top advice for helping someone with a burn this Bonfire Night.

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‘Knowing first aid helped me save a motorcyclist’s life’

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Helen Cowen used her first aid skills to save the life of a motorcyclist who crashed outside her home.

Not everyone could handle the sight of a bloodied motorcyclist with a badly severed leg. Helen Cowan could, and her first aid knowledge saved a man’s life.

“I had decided to sit in the garden one evening when I heard a loud crash,” Helen said.

“At first I thought something had fallen from our recently renovated house. But as I walked to the front of the house, I could see a small crowd gathered on the pavement outside.”

The scene outside her house was upsetting.

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Four things to know about care

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A Red Cross volunteer provides social care by helping an older woman walk down a path

At the British Red Cross, we want everyone to get the support they need to live as independently as possible.

But a new report by the Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation found that this odoes not always happen.

Instead, a growing number of people who have recently left hospital are being admitted again – sometimes just a few days later.

Our In and out of hosptial report confirms this, showing that a lack of social care support leads to people having to go into hospital again and again. Sadly, opportunities to change this are often missed.

Every year the Red Cross supports thousands of people coming home from hospital.

Here are four key things we know about care based on the stories we have heard from the people who use our services.

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Learning baby first aid with The Last Leg’s Alex Brooker

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Alex Brooker learning first aid

As a co-host on Channel 4’s The Last Leg, Alex Brooker has no fear of live TV. But he felt less confident about being able to help his six-month-old daughter in a first aid emergency.

“Our baby’s weaning now and I’m a massive worrier. Every little thing I worry about,” he said.

To ease those concerns, Alex took part in a British Red Cross group first aid course so that he could learn with his friends and family – and he’s really pleased he did.

To mark World First Aid Day, come and learn first aid with Alex.

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Hurricane Irma: pictures from the devastation

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British Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma

Credit: British Red Cross

By Kevin Studds, British Red Cross country manager for our overseas branches

Hurricane Irma is the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. As it continues its path across the Caribbean, the extent of the devastation is starting to become clear.

So far, the islands of St Martin and Barbuda have borne the brunt of the storm. But also affected are the British Overseas Territories of Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands where the British Red Cross has branches.

With Hurricane Jose following close behind in Irma’s path, the concern for those caught up in the north-east Caribbean heightens.

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World First Aid Day: learn how to help a choking baby or child in minutes

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First aid for a choking baby

New research from the British Red Cross has revealed that three out of four parents in the UK would not be able to save their baby from choking.*

But helping a baby or child who is choking is much simpler than you might think. In fact, you can learn how in just a few minutes.

To mark World First Aid Day on 9 September, we’re calling on anyone who looks after little ones to learn this life-saving skill, and encourage others to by wrapping your social media profile picture with our “I can save a life” pledge.

Keep reading and you’ll be ready to save a life in no time.

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Day of the disappeared: see the moment loved ones are reunited

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Mohammdau waits to board a flight

Mohammadu waits to board a flight to be reunited with his stepfather, who he hasn’t seen in two years. Photo credit: Rahima Gambo / British Red Cross.

In the chaos of an armed attack, you might only have seconds to escape with your life. Yet surviving can feel bittersweet if you become separated from loved ones in the process.

This may sound surreal but it is a real experience shared by many living in Africa’s Lake Chad region. Years of armed conflict originating in Nigeria have torn families apart.

Today marks International Day of the Disappeared – a day where we recognise the thousands of people still missing.

But we also have a positive story to share which shows the moment loved ones are finally reunited.

Over two years ago, 15-year-old Mohammadu fled alone from the conflict in Nigeria to Chad. He left behind his mother, stepfather and other siblings. He hadn’t seen any of them since then – until recently.

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