To Be Useful

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Written by Regina Spangler
Published on Tuesday, 28 July 2009

A few months ago I started a job working with children with developmental/learning disabilities. As a job requirement I had to be certified in first aid and CPR: infant, child, and adult. Working three jobs and being a part-time student, the last thing I wanted to do was spend eight hours on a Saturday in a room with no windows…and pay $75 to do so. But it was required. So I called the Red Cross to register for the class.

I’ll admit, I was a bit over confident when I arrived for the class. I’ve worked with children for over ten years and I’ve seen nearly every type of emergency situation with children. Broken bones, fainting spells, severe burns, seizures, deep wounds requiring stitches, etc, etc, etc. But I listened in awe as the instructor gave detailed descriptions of what happens with car collisions, heart attacks, and strokes. It was like I was being slapped in the face with my own ignorance. A nice little wake up call. We covered every topic and situation imaginable: the Heimlich maneuver (now known as the “abdominal thrust”), how to apply pressure to a wound, how to properly treat a burn (most people do this incorrectly), how to fashion a sling out of any type of cloth, what to have in your first aid kit, diabetic shock, hypothermia, how to use the Automated External Defibrillator, CPR, …

Of course the majority of the class is spent on CPR. It is quite effective and, if it’s performed properly and as soon as possible, it can save a life. Most of us know that the body can only be deprived of oxygen for about 4-6 minutes before irreversible brain damage occurs. And waiting on an ambulance can take a lot longer than 6 minutes. It’s literally the difference between life and death. I learned a great deal in the course and I truly believe this is one of the best learning experiences I’ve ever had. After the course, I felt like some sort of superhero this new knowledge and life-saving power.

Most of you are already physically strong, and you can run fast. You are likely to be the first one to reach the victim of an accident. But then what? The bottom line is that CPR and First Aid save lives. It doesn’t matter how strong or fast you are if you can’t help once you arrive on the scene. Go now and register for a class: www.redcross.org

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