Everyone has a panic button. It is a natural protective internal system that causes us to react in life threatening situations. First aid situations can trigger a person’s panic button.
Did you hear about the paramedic that came upon the scene of a rescue in progress by a bystander who was performing CPR on an unconscious casualty? The bystander was doing chest compressions and “practice breathing” into the casualty. One would question why anyone would “practice breathe” in a real emergency scenario. Chest compressions alone would be more advantageous as they would not interrupt the flow of blood to the vital organs. However, if you understand the dynamics of the average person who is thrown into an “un-average” situation, the reasons become clearer.
Emergencies quite naturally induce the feeling of panic among those that are not highly trained or experienced. Panic can interfere with the thinking process causing the responder to revert to a more robotic mode which copies the movements learned in the first aid class. First Aid Instructors that do not want to clean and sanitize manikins or do not have enough manikins available for the whole class may tell their students not to breathe directly into them during training. Instead, they may tell them to, “practice breathe”, whereby the student simulates a breath to the side of the manikin face. Unfortunately, this training style does not provide the responder with the best opportunity of success in an emergency situation.
Another example of panic inducing responders into robotic mode occurred at a plant in Mississauga. An employee experienced a severe laceration on the hand that caused a significant amount of blood spillage. The trained responders bandaged the wound to stop the bleeding but did not take off the paper wrapping from the gauze bandage pads. The employees reported that in their first aid class they practiced bandaging using gauze pads that were still in their paper wrapping.
If you are booking first aid training for your employees, check to make sure your provider of choice will have enough manikins so that everyone in the class can practice the skills exactly as they would of a real situation occurs. Training kits with protective barriers and bandages should also be provided to each student so that practice is as realistic as possible, ensuring that even if the panic button is stimulated and robotic memory takes over, the end result will be as successful as possible
Dianne Rende is the Executive Director of St. John Ambulance, Peel Dufferin Branch. As Canada’s leading authority in first aid, St. John Ambulance is dedicated to improving health and safety at work, at home and at play. Dianne can be reached by email at [email protected] or for more information visit www.sja.ca.
Pet First Aid Instructor saves MeekaOn Saturday, April 19th, 2014, St. John Ambulance Medical First Responders, Ryan Smith, Andrew Adams, Rachel De Young and Gabriel Baylon were on first aid duty at the All About Pets Show. They heard a distressed women calling out for oxygen for her dog that had fallen off a chair and was vital signs absent. Ryan, who is a certified Pet First Aid Instructor, took charge, assessed the situation and began mouth to snout ventilations. Andrew, Rachel and Gabriel followed Ryan’s instructions regarding oxygen delivery, heart monitoring, chest compressions and bystander management. The team worked together to continue life support while transporting Meeka to a veterinary hospital for further treatment. Meeka, a 4 year old teacup Pomeranian, survived the stroke that caused her near death experience due to the quick actions of these four dedicated Medical Responders who were able to adapt their first aid skills to save her life.
From left: Andrew, Gabriel, Meeka’s owner, Terry and Ryan Smith celebrate Meeka’s recovery.
First Aid is an important tool for taking care of the ones you love. Many of us have taken a first aid course at some point in our lives for family, school or work related reasons and we have learned some important skills. Your animal companion is more to you than just a pet; they are a member of your family.
As such, have you considered how to recognize a potentially serious condition, and help them if they are injured?
Good first aid knowledge can help to save your pet’s life, reduce the potential for increased injury and promote fast recovery. First aid is not a replacement for going to your vet, but handling emergency situations properly right at the beginning can save you money by recognizing problems early and acting on them quickly.
Pet first aid courses are designed to build an owner’s confidence to respond to an illness or injury situation, administer the appropriate care, or stabilize and transport a pet to the veterinarian. A good course will include preventive care to avoid illness and injury, how to use common household items to restrain and transport an injured animal, and some or all of the following:
Attending a course in person allows for hands-on learning with life-sized specialty animal mannequins. Along with practicing CPR and choking and bandaging, animal mannequins can be used to demonstrate how to adapt common household items such as jackets, sticks, newspaper, saran wrap, duct tape, over-the-counter drugs, old cell phones, ties, belts, rope, scarfs, etc. into first aid tools.
Finally, a good first aid course will provide you with a resource manual for handy reference and a specially designed pet first aid kit.
Consider the newly-developed St. John Ambulance Pet First Aid course. With everything included above, it will be the best six and a half hours you spend on learning how to keep your pet safe and healthy. Proceeds of St. John Ambulance Pet First Aid courses are directed to the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program, a charitable service that brings comfort, joy and companionship to members of the community who are sick, lonely, reside in long-term care and mental health facilities; are in hospitals, schools and library settings. For more information please call (905) 568-1905 or visit www.sjapeel.ca/petfirstaid