Yesterday, I finished an online course to be certified in Adult/Child/Infant First Aid, CPR and AED usage. (I’ll wait while you all applaud. Thank you, thank you. 🙂 ) All kidding aside, my post today is to encourage anyone out there who may not be certified to consider doing so. Why? Well, I’m glad you asked!
- Your own peace of mind. I have never, thank God, been in a life or death situation in which I had to use any of the skills I have learned, but I have been in situations in which less serious injuries have occurred. Knowing what to do and how to help and reassure the person who was injured went a long way to fighting down the instinctive feeling of “What do I do??” that can come in those situations, and save precious minutes that could otherwise be used to help and summon assistance.
- The peace of mind of others. There is no feeling, except possibly that of having literally saved someone’s life, of having someone look at you and genuinely thank you for helping them when they were hurt, sick or scared. Whether it’s a child, a teen or an adult, nothing matches it. Part of the training that I have taken stresses “Never allow the patient to feel alone,” and especially in a society such as ours, where it’s all too easy for so many to ‘fall through the cracks,’ as it were, that message rings through loud and clear. At one point, a parent said to me that at a family gathering (to which I had been invited, as a friend of the family) she was concerned about a group of kids playing on a trampoline until she saw me there, nearby. Then she felt that they would be all right because she knew I’d make sure they were safe. That made the training worthwhile.
- The fact that what you learn and pass on can help you as well. About 2 years ago, I rather dramatically discovered I was epileptic when I had a massive seizure in the living room of my apartment. After my wife’s initial panic (she’s human, after all) she told me that she and my youngest son remembered things they had learned, themselves, as well as things I had told them, and were able to summon 911 and get help while also making sure that I was all right. My youngest son has, on his wall, a “Life Saving Hero” award from the American Red Cross for his actions while calling 911 at a later date when I was struck with another seizure. He told the paramedics that he remembered what to do because of a safety class I had given at the school, and specifically to his class. Even without such an incident, any one of us can suddenly be injured or stricken when alone. Knowing what to do and how to help yourself can go a long way to fighting down the very human panic that can come at those times, and make the difference between making a small injury into a worse one, or even between life and death.
“But,” you may say or be thinking, “aren’t those classes expensive? Can’t I get sued if I help someone?” You may even be wondering why you need to bother to be certified, since you can just pick up a first aid book and learn those things on your own or read it when you need it. Those are valid objections, so let’s take a look at them.
- The class that I took through the National Safety Council was entirely online, save for the component by which I had to go into the local NSC office and demonstrate, hands on, some of the skills I had learned. I had a length of time to finish the online portion, and so could do it at my leisure. The cost was $19.95 and can be taken in English or in Spanish. I’d consider the potential benefits to be well worth the investment, wouldn’t you?
- ON THAT NOTE: BEWARE OF SCAMS! There are companies online that purport to teach “completely online” courses that have no component by which you need to demonstrate your skills. They claim, among other things, to be “nationally recognized and accredited.” This is not true. Please direct your attention to this PSA, and be enlightened – then tell your friends so that they, too, don’t get scammed! http://news.hsi.com/onlineonlycpr
- Can you get sued? Of course you can. In today’s world, you can be sued for virtually anything. However, the point to consider is that every state in the USA, as well as the District of Columbia, have “Good Samaritan” laws on the books. Although they vary by state, in essence they are all designed to protect the lay person who acts in good faith to render assistance to someone who is in imminent danger or is hurt. That makes it very unlikely that you would be successfully sued if you showed that you acted in accordance with the law in trying to help. Ultimately, only you can determine whether or not it is worth the risk, if you will, to play it safe or render aid to someone in need. I know how I would answer that question. How about you?
- To the idea of just learning it from a book, I pass on something that I once saw in a survival manual. The author stated that reading the book was not enough. You could have all the knowledge you want about making a fire without matches, in the rain, in the cold, etc; but until you actually did it – until you actually tried making a fire in the rain, when your hands were cold and trembling, when you were in the dark – all your knowledge was just that. It was knowledge. It wasn’t practical. So it is, I have found, with first aid. The training course and demonstrating your skills walks you through actually doing some of the most important things you learn in lifesaving skills. Yes, a book beats no knowledge at all, but it doesn’t replace a course.
In the end, it comes down to this when it comes to skills in First Aid, CPR and AED usage. It’s better to have the skills and not need them, then to need them and not have them. I never want to be the one saying “If I’d only known what to do.”
Do it. It will be worth it. Trust me.
God bless, my friend!