Friday, April 26, 2013

Be prepared

When something awful happens, such as the Boston Marathon bombings - was that only a little over a week ago? - the first responders are usually bystanders and victims. That's because it's the bystanders who are already there. Did those people know what to do or did they jump in because help was needed, even though they might not have possessed first aid skills? I don't know the answer to that, but I wonder.

To maintain my therapeutic massage license, I'm required to be CPR and first aid certified. I admit I wasn't initially keen on learning these skills since I tend to freeze, like a deer in the headlights, when confronted with emergencies. Would I have rushed towards the explosions in Boston? Probably not. I'm not proud to admit it. But there are many people who would, and will - and did - rush in to help. When I worked at Whole Foods, I was the only employee in my store who was certified in first aid. That seems crazy to me. Every store employee should have been trained, yes?

Though I didn't look forward to it, I was tremendously impressed by my initial training from the Red Cross, and from subsequent trainings since my first class so many years ago. Because of the training I was able to recognize what was happening the one time when a client, arriving for a massage, was close to succumbing to a heart attack. She said she had terrible indigestion, had been belching all day. Her ankles were swollen and she was tired, also sweating even though it wasn't hot. She swore she was OK, but she was not. I had the presence of mind to remember the symptoms from my training, remain calm and call 911. I knew to tell her to sit quietly until the EMTs arrived. (She had a stent put into an artery and was fine.)

Though it's not likely I would run towards the scene of a disaster, the training helped me deal appropriately with that situation. It was well worth it - my client would agree!

Much of CPR/first aid training involves common sense. Some of the training is specific and technical, especially for CPR, rescue breathing, using an AED and for situations such as helping people who are choking. It is well worth learning these skills.

Hands on classes are available in most cities. You can also study online these days - of course. I just took a class from Pro-First Aid that was top notch, a series of 3-5 minute instruction videos on a variety of scenarios. Even if you don't take the test, pay the fee and become certified, it's well worth learning how to conduct yourself in an emergency. You can just watch the videos. I highly recommend it.

It's sad that in the U.S. we are experiencing horrible tragedies such as the bombings, also the mass shootings we've endured particularly since 9/11. Since we as a country seem unable to curb our addiction to weapons, I expect there will be more of these awful tragedies.

We humans are, by and large, a good hearted species. There are a few bad seeds, but mostly we are altruistic, compassionate and brave as hell to run towards an explosion rather than away from it. Every one of us good people should have some basic training in first aid and CPR, just in case. I'm not hoping or wishing for disaster, but if it should happen, wouldn't you rather know what to do?

May you and yours be well, may you and yours be safe. Shalom.


Kerry said...

Thank you for providing the link. My CPR and first aid training (required of all teachers at my school) are still in effect, but it's good to stay up to date in these things. I've never had to use what I've been trained in, and I hope that I never do.

Reya Mellicker said...

I hope you don't have to either!