One of my requirements at work is to take at least three classes this year--all of which are furnished by my employer--as some sort of self-improvement gimmick or something. One of them will be learning how to handle the new handheld device whenever it comes in, so that leaves two more. I've been looking for classes that seem interesting and useful. There are a lot of classes that would basically be just blow-off classes for me, like how to use Excel and Word, or the Computer Basics class. I might take on one Powerpoint or Access just for kicks.
Anyhow, this past Tuesday I took a day-long class on basic first aid and CPR. I think it was a great class, and I gave the instructor high marks all the way around on my class critique (something we have to do for every class we take, even the ones that are only an hour long). This class was the American Red Cross version, so if you've had one of their classes you've probably been through all the same stuff.
I've been wanting to get CPR certification for a good while now, so when I found out it was one of the classes we could take, I signed up right away. Since this was at work, I didn't have to pay for it myself (and of course, I was on the clock the whole time, so you could say I was actually paid to take it).
It had plenty of hands-on stuff, but honestly I think I would like to take a more intensive first aid course that covers more stuff. I remember my dad, who worked for the highway department, had to take a week-long course every couple of years. When I was a kid I'd read all the books he brought home from the class, so I've had a basic knowledge of first aid since I was quite young. I remember once when my sister and I were at home alone after school and she somehow cut her hand pretty badly and started panicking (blood squirted everywhere). I applied a pressure bandage just like I'd read in my dad's book and got her calmed down. I was her hero after that. My mom had to boast to everyone about it. I was probably around 8 years old at the time, which would have made her 4.
I remember another time when I worked at the pizza place, I walked in for my night shift and found one of the day crew workers with her finger stuck in a cup of what appeared to be Big Red--but we didn't serve Big Red. "What's that?" I asked. "I cut my finger," she said, "it won't stop bleeding." "What the **** do you have it stuck in a cup of water for?" I said, a little testily. "Isn't that what you're supposed to do?" she said. "Holy ****," I said, "NO." So I had to patch her up, too.
Last year, my employer put at least one AED (automated external defibrillator) in every building they have. There's one in our building near the front. During a break, I asked our teacher if he would be covering how to use it, and he said yes. The ones we use can be seen here. They are pretty slick. This model turns itself on as soon as you pull that part that says, "PULL." It has voice instruction that tells you everything to do and when to do it. It also has clear diagrams showing you exactly where to place the pads. The only thing you need to know is how to do chest compressions and it takes care of everything else. For our class, we used training models that behave just like the real thing except they don't actually deliver a shock. They also beep at the correct rhythm during the time that you do chest compressions so you don't have to sing "Another One Bites the Dust" to yourself. That carrying case it comes in is a little smaller than a standard kids' lunchbox.
We also had hands-on training on how to roll someone over, how to apply a pressure bandage, how to make a makeshift arm splint, for which we used our instruction manuals, and how to recognize and treat shock and heat stress. The heat stress thing is a big problem in our work. Also burns. Getting burned is a problem in some other departments, but it probably won't happen in mine, except for sunburns. But mostly the class was focused on CPR. I should be getting my card in a couple of weeks.
We were also given a face shield in a little pouch that can attach to your keychain. To see it, click here and scroll down to the American CPR Mini CPR Keychain. I think I might go ahead and order one of their packs that looks like a mini-backpack and has a face shield, gloves and antiseptic wipes. They only cost $3.50 for one.
I'm glad I took this class. I just hope that if the occasion ever arises, I'm still able to do what I was taught without freaking out.