Show of paws: how many of my Gentle Readers have ever taken a CPR course? How many have taken the upgraded course with the AED block?
Next time you're at the mall look around. Sooner or later you're going to see a yellow or red box attached to a wall, probably near the food court. More than likely, that red or yellow case will be an Automatic External Defibrillator. Neat, huh?
Know how to use it?
More to the point, should it become necessary to use it on a loved one, do you want to already know how it works, or would you rather a) take a Time Out and read the instructions; or b) hope someone else knows how to use it?
Yeah. Thought so.
Once you have taken the Red Cross CPR/AED course, consider taking a First Responder course. They're usually 40 to 60 hours long -- two to three weeks at four hours a night, five nights a week. A First Responder course will teach you to look at scenes differently, force you to learn some new skills and introduce you to some people outside of your normal social circle -- which is always good.
When I suggest this sort of thing in the paint, people normally tell me that they aren't interested in getting involved in other folks' problems.
This is an attitude I frankly don't understand, but it's not really the point. If your child dives head-first into the wrong end of the swimming pool are you going to know what to do, or are you going to wing it?
"Winging it" is never the right answer. You need to know what to do. You. Yes, there are people on the far end of 911 who know what to do, but they have to get to the scene, they have to get to your child, and you're already there. Want to wait?
I'm willing to bet that a family or two (or a neighborhood) in post-Katrina New Orleans wouldn't have minded one of their own having First Responder skills. Those Gentle Readers in Tornado Alley might find First Responder training might come in handy sooner-or-later ...
A First Responder course is worth the money and time spent, if only to work your brain, or to network with local public safety folks.
Personally, I by-passed the CPR and the First Responder course and jumped right into EMT-Basic, but that might be a little more gung-ho and involved than most folks need.
It was fun, though.