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The voice that people need

Hi! I’m Sarah Kelly, an American who moved to Amsterdam almost 16 years ago. I’ve had the pleasure of being been part of the bhv team at Liberty Global now for the past ten years.

AMSTERDAM – Sarah Says – Storytelling Solutions by Sarah Kelley © 2018 Foto: Nils van Houts

Originally I wanted to be part of the bhv team because I had a new baby at home and felt it was a great opportunity for me to learn first aid just to be prepared but hoping to never need it. As it turns out, taking the course has been extremely helpful in quite a few situations both outside the home and office.

Through my bhv courses I’ve learned that the best thing I can offer somebody who needs my help in an emergency situation is a steady, calm voice of authority – even if I really didn’t know exactly what I was going to do to help. Over the years I’ve been able to be a reassuring voice that let my colleague know that she didn’t embarrass herself by fainting in the coffee bar and that her own mental health is important. I’ve been the strong voice that has reassured a parent whose child was blue from choking and encourage them to talk to their baby as she regained consciousness. I’ve been a kind voice who can assure a very scared wife that her husband was going to get the best care after a sudden seizure on a tram.

Honestly, in all of those situations, for a very split second, I didn’t want to be the one who took control and I looked for somebody who had more authority. But in each situation everybody around all looked the same, like we were waiting for a person in a cape to sweep in and save the day. It never took me long to react but there is always that initial feeling of “oh no, somebody help!” but the class has taught me that I am somebody and it has to be me that helps. Being quick and reacting in time is so important.

At Liberty Global as an extremely international company, with over 50 nationalities on our Schiphol-Rijk campus and English being the business language, I’ve noticed that in times where you feel under pressure, people do tend to revert to their native language, which is understandable. As you can imagine with such a diverse bhv team, with all different English accents, it is already difficult to understand one another on the porta phones. Then if you add in a few people speaking Dutch, it can really get confusing to those listening. After almost every drill or practice session we are reminded again to please speak in English so everybody is aware what is going on. It’s a real challenge that we face as a team but we try our best.

Being part of the bhv team in the office simply gives me another way that I can contribute to the wellbeing of the company. With each practice drill and refresher course we have, I feel more confident in my ability to be the voice that people need.

Deze gastcolumn is oorspronkelijk gepubliceerd in Veiligheid 80, eerste kwartaal 2020

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