Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Meditations on emergency training

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.



Anonymous said...

I will never forget stopping at an accident where a 12 or year old girl was thrown out of the car. Her dad was unhurt and beat me to her and may well have killed her by picking her up and letting her head flop back. Or maybe not. While I was getting him away from her the next guy there did the same thing. No one who stopped knew cpr so I did it by myself until I gave out.

I still cry when I go by that section of the hill country and I can still taste her blood but mostly I wish her dad and the other gent knew the slightest thing about first aid, she might still be alive.

Anonymous said...

Amazingly, my brother in law just brought this up to me. He is a First responder w/ all kinds of extra certifications, but thats his career.

I answered him with a 'yes' so he is going to help me find a good learning center for this. It will never hurt me to know this stuff and it may help someday.

Anonymous said...

Amen. Thank you for this post. This is a vital and oft-ignored part of true preparedness. I'm amazed how many armed, alert and "prepared" folks are terrified at the idea of having to learn first aid.

I started with a first responder course and now, 14 years later, have taken three FR courses, been a volunteer EMT in two states, and certified emergency vehicle operator. (Another worthwhile "disaster" skill.)

Many people think they can "wing it" with emergency medical situations. Most of those people have a false sense of security brought on by seeing things done on TV and figuring they can emulate when the time comes. The fact that TV is often horribly (and dangerously) wrong notwithstanding, we all know the value of conditioned reactions in crises.

Please don't shy away from emphasizing the value of this training in future posts.


Anonymous said...

'Dawg, you know I'm generally a training junkie. But AED training is ... sigh .. well, with the brainpower at least equivalent to a potted petunia can run one of the things with no prior instruction.

Of course, under stress, nearly everyone is as dull-witted as the average houseplant. Might as well sign up for a class.


(Got current CPR/AED, current 1st Aid, long-lapsed lifeguard instructor, and have taken several relatively recent survival-in-the-woods' type classes which haven't done a thing for my sense of direction but have convinced me that common sense really isn't.)

Abejarron Caotico said...

When I was a teenager, I was certified in child and infant CPR because it made me feel more confident as a babysitter. The only thing I really know how to do now is mouth-to-nose on a dog. You make good points for why I should learn again.

Anonymous said...

I pulled a dead man out of a Jeep a few years ago. I was right behind him on the highway when he kinda made a sharp right into the concrete pier of the overpass above him. An off duty cop got there the same time I did, but the man was DRT. Later learned he'd had a massive sroke and the coroner said he was likely dead before he hit the pier.

I learned how to use the defib when I was in nursing school. Used it once in the clinic, but not since. The oldest Incubus is a Paragod and moonlights at Sterrett. I think he's used it a time or two in the last month.
Of course, there, he might have used it defensively.

Not a bad skill to know. Basic CPR and first aid, definitely skills every adult and parent should know.

Good topic, Dog.


Anonymous said...

Also after one gets such training actually consider buying one. They really aren't that expensive to add to your home medical gear especially if you have someone in the family with known cardiac problems or if you have people in your household who are getting up there in terms age, risk or like me you live way out in the sticks or something. I was really surprised when I looked up prices recently and discovered they weren't as expensive as I had thought they were. Something a family should definitely consider having since they're not even as much as a decent TV.

Anonymous said...

As a "retired" paramedic and now an emergency manager I'd like to suggest that after initial training people might like to consider getting envolved with their local CERT (Citizen Emergency Response Team)program. It's a neighborhood based program that develops local teams who are trained and equipped to respond at times of log=cal emergencies. Contact your city/county emergency management office or your fire department for more information.

Anonymous said...

Gods, yes, stay certified!! Once upon a very long time ago, me and a Harley riding buddy saved the lives of three drunk teens who flipped their car into a water-filled ditch after overcorrecting -coming within millimeters of taking us out.

The EMTs were miles away (and this was in the days before cells). I was SO grateful I knew what to do (and T, of course, had combat medic training). We kept all three of them alive - but T couldn't have done it by himself.

Anonymous said...

I've had CPR training but I need to get it updated as it was prior to wide availability of AEDs.

Where is the best place to get that and to get first responder training?

Anonymous said...

Your friendly neighborhood Red Cross usually has free classes available.

My employer, a well known North American Department of Defense (See Jeopardy style manual) trained me in CPR/AED. Missed the course last year, my prostate was being frozen half off, I know, excuses, excuses. This year training has not been offered. Red Cross shortage of instructors. Sigh.

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Anonymous said...

Also, talk to the safety department at work . . . my employer, and many others, will actually send you to first aid, etc, classes on the clock.

That's right, learn a new skill (or renew your certification) and get paid for it!

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