by Mac Olsen
You come upon the scene of a multi-vehicle collision and there are people with serious injuries, possibly even some who are dead.
What do you do?
Panic is a natural state of mind when you encounter such situations. We’re human, after all.
But if you’re cool under pressure and can handle the gravity of the situation, as a certified first aid provider, performing a primary site survey and talking to others who could help would be your first order of business.
Calling 911 should also be a priority, as well as providing all the essential information to the dispatcher. Then you and the others set to work helping the injured and wait for first responders to arrive.
Last week, I completed the two-day St. John Ambulance Standard First Aid Level C with Automated External Defibrillator course at Northern Lakes College in High Prairie. The main reason I took it is because it’s required for my goal of becoming a foster parent.
But looking beyond that goal, I realize it’s also important to be able to provide first aid treatment in multiple situations.
If I’m the first on scene and first responders such as fire trucks and the ambulance are 15 or 20 minutes away, then I’d better be prepared to offer what assistance I can.
Or, maybe someone is having a heart attack at a community event or in a seniors facility.
Knowing how to do compressions – it’s not longer called Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, or CPR – and using an Automated External Defibrillator can mean the difference between life and death.
This isn’t the first time I’ve taken first aid training. In 2006, I had to complete a first aid course in Thompson, Manitoba as part of doing youth respite work for the John Howard Society. But that course wasn’t as in-depth as the NLC course. For instance, it didn’t have the AED component.
That course was sufficient for my needs at the time. However, I didn’t keep up my three-year recertification when I moved to Alberta, not seeing the necessity of it.
But now, I will get recertified every three years because I think it’s the right thing to do.
True, many people take the course for their employment and there are companies that specialize in on-site medical service for things like work camps and the energy sector. They provide an essential service and are to be commended.
Still, I encourage everyone to complete the St. John Ambulance Standard First Aid Level C with Automated External Defibrillator course. You, too, can make a difference in providing first aid on scene.
Moreover, I encourage all businesses, government agencies and non-profit organizations to install the Automated External Defibrillator at strategic locations throughout their facilities, and to get their staff or volunteers trained in first aid and using the AED.
I don’t know the cost of purchasing and installing the AEDs.
But having them on site can help save lives. This is a great public service.