Emergencies can happen anywhere. A diner can choke in a restaurant or someone who doesn't know how to swim can fall into a pool. A person properly trained in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and first aid can help out in these situations while 911 is being dialed. There are also ways to help someone experiencing a heart attack or seizure before first responders arrive on the scene.
Everyone can take first-aid classes to be better prepared in an emergency. The American Red Cross offers courses across the United States, while your local fire department and park district can also provide you with a variety of ways to learn CPR. These courses may give a thorough overview on first-aid techniques, or they may be specifically designed for individuals going into a career in child care.
Whether you are looking to receive training for a job, preparing for youth sports safety, or looking to feel more confident about safety at home, a first-aid and CPR class can give you the tools you need to be better prepared in the case of common emergencies. It's a good idea to get re-certified in CPR each year, as the guidelines do change, and to stay up-to-date on the latest technology, such as AEDs (automated external defibrillators).
In the Classroom
First-aid and CPR classrooms are typically led by someone who has maintained a high degree of certification for many years. This may be a medical professional, firefighter, scout leader, or recreation supervisor. They are someone who is very experienced and can answer whatever questions you may have, so never hesitate to ask about a specific situation.
Classes typically cover common first-aid scenarios (sprained ankles, broken bones, choking, burns, etc.), situations where CPR may be needed, and the use of an AED machine in a cardiac arrest case. Instruction usually includes hands-on techniques with training machines and CPR dummies, so that you can best simulate the experience of giving first aid in the real world.
Most courses will hammer home the importance of calling 911 as quickly as possible. This is always the first step in any emergency, and any onlookers can help you by making the call.
Online training courses are often available, but an in-person, hands-on course may be better, especially if you are new to first aid. No matter what type of class you complete, you will leave feeling better prepared knowing the ABCs of first aid and CPR.
If you are applying first aid or CPR, you are obviously trying to help someone in an emergency. Classes will provide you with the tools to know how to help in a medical crisis.
You will also learn how to keep yourself safe by being instructed on the proper way to put on and take off medical gloves, as well as how to give CPR through a face shield or mask. Most major businesses and organizations have standard first-aid kits on site, so you will learn how to use the contents of those kits, as well as what to do in a remote location like a forest preserve if you are on a family hiking trip.
Instructors can also educate you about the legal questions of applying first aid in an emergency. Every state in America has Good Samaritan laws in place to legally protect someone from liability when giving emergency care. Your instructor can provide you additional information regarding the specific laws in your state.
During an Emergency
If you find yourself on the scene of an emergency, you can use your training to help out in the best way possible. This may simply be by calling 911 and informing the operator of what is happening, or you may find yourself actually performing the Heimlich maneuver on a choking friend or neighbor.
It's best to let others on the scene know that you are certified in first aid and CPR so that they can defer to you. If someone is more qualified—a doctor, nurse, or EMT—you can assist them in giving care until first responders arrive. Always call 911 in an emergency, and the dispatcher can guide you in the first moments of any given situation.
Being prepared for an emergency with proper training allows you to cut through confusion and help someone in crisis. Hopefully, you will never need to use your first-aid and CPR skills, but it doesn't hurt to have them.
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Why It’s Good
It's important to be prepared for medical emergencies. Whether you are starting a career in child care or simply want to be ready for anything in your own home, first-aid classes can provide you with the skills to treat injuries and even save lives.