You have the power to save a life.

Potentially anyway. Effective first aid, CPR and even simply calling for help can make all the difference when seconds count.

BSD is my alter-ego. I use him to express things that I might not be able to professionally, or just to get things off my chest. The real me knows a bit about saving lives, having dedicated over two decades to it.

CPR, Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation can greatly increase an individual’s chances of survival if administered as soon as possible after an accident or incident. In basic terms, pumping the chest and breathing exhaled air into someone else’s mouth.

chest compressions

Education

A debate rages in this country as to whether CPR should be taught in the national curriculum; it’s one that has gone on for ages but seems to be going unanswered. My opinion is ‘don’t wait for the state to educate you’ in what I think is one of life’s greatest skills.

From a very young age children can comprehend things such as helping someone. We’ve all heard seen those videos of a cute child calmly explaining to an emergency call handler that ‘mummy won’t wake up’ and we’ve no doubt all held our breath waiting for the sound of sirens.

There are some advocates that teach preschoolers to do chest compressions but personally I think this can be counter-productive. It’s unlikely that they will have the strength the do effective chest compressions and while something is better than nothing, I would rather that the under 5’s know the following.

  • How to call the emergency services
  • Where they live

and at the most,

  • How to check for breathing
  • How to clear an airway.

Every child will be different and some will have better language skills than others but that initial summoning of professional help is vital as seconds will count.

Once children get older, the more advanced lessons can be taught, such as DR,ABC.

  • Dangers
  • Response (and assistance)
  • Airway
  • Breathing
  • Circulation.

Knowing these five things really makes a world of difference. Wound management such as controlling bleeds and infection control can also be introduced, depending on aptitude.

Learn now and remember forever

Exactly how to resuscitate people changes year on year as more information is gathered from clinical practice and elsewhere and because of that, I purposely haven’t gone into great detail on here.

My advice is this: seek out trained professionals and learn the basics. In the UK we have many providers such as St John, the Red Cross et al. Heck; I’m sure if you knocked the door of your local ambulance station they’d run through the basics with you (they are extremely busy though).

As I said earlier, I speak from experience, both professional and personal.

In his first 18 months my son suffered from a series of febrile convulsions and a full tonic/clonic seizure. It was terrifying. With everything I know the shock rendered me able to do very little, other than summon help. Thank God, our amazing ambulance service were at our door in minutes.

He’s fine now but the whole episode reinforced what I already believed; we should all get some training.

If you use it once in your entire life to save a life, then it’s time well spent.

first-aid-kit-9

BSD

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