This past week we had a paramedic come to the office to get us up to date on CPR/First Aid/AED training. We were all dreading it very much – especially when we discovered that the trainer, Bob, expected the class to last 7 hours! 7 hours! So, rather than go out to the golf course and play a lovely round of golf we were going to be spending it sitting in the office hearing a dry lecture. We just were ready to get it behind us.
Thursday evening we were wondering if the class was even going to happen. The hills above Palmdale were on fire, there was a fire in Acton, and a fire in Agua Dulce. We weren’t sure that the 14 freeway was going to stay open and if it closed our instructor wouldn’t be able to get to our office.
Friday morning came and the 14 freeway was open so it was off to the office we went. We still had hopes that the class wouldn’t be 7 hours long. How could a class that we found listed as ComedyCPR be that long? If it was going to be that long we all were hoping that we wouldn’t fall asleep in our chairs.
We got to the office and Bob was ready and eager to teach us all about CPR, first aid, and the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs). This looked like it was going to be a long day.
But something unexpected happened. The class was entertaining. Not like being at a comedy club, but entertaining in a way that you wanted to hear what Bob had to say. He would give us information and then weave personal stories around the information. We still had to practice on mannequins, but it wasn’t uncomfortable. The mannequins were the more "life-like" mannequins -- so you wanted to get it right. You wanted to understand how it would feel to have to perform chest compressions on an adult. It takes a lot of effort!
Yes, we went over the ABCs (airway, breathing, circulation) but we went over it in such a way that it really stuck in our brains. And over and over again he would remind us that in the event of an emergency our job would be to do for the person in distress what they couldn’t do for him/her self. We thought that was a great way to look approach an emergency situation.
One thing Bob suggested was that when you come upon a person requiring help, once you have assessed the situation you should yell for someone to help you. But he said rather than saying “Help” you should call out “Hey, come look at this, bring your camera, you’ll want to see this.” Someone will come because they are curious. That seemed kind of odd and I wasn’t really convinced that would work.
On Saturday Dr. Boyd was in his house and he wanted me to see something on a television show. So, he called out, “Hey, Cathy, you have to come see this. Bring your camera.” So I ran through the house looking for a camera. I ran into the room where Brad was, camera in hand, and there wasn’t anything unusual to see. So I said, “what do you want me to see?” Brad looked at me standing there with the camera and couldn’t stop laughing. Then he said, “Hey, it worked.” Yeah, I felt like a fool but I have a better appreciation of Bob’s advice.
We learned a lot that day in class. I think we all feel more confident now about being effective in an emergency situation.
Here’s a secret to calling 911 that the paramedic gave us that I want to pass along. If you find yourself needing emergency medical help and are calling 911 from a land line when the dispatcher answers ask to be transferred to the fire department dispatcher. They have a button that quickly puts them with the fire department. Don’t answer any questions until the fire department gets on the line. They are the ones who will be sending out the paramedics. They are the ones who need the information that you can provide so they know who and what to send. Help will be on the way a lot faster if you do this. This only works with a land line.
911 calls on cell phones are answered by the CHP. You would be smart to look in the phone book, go to the front under government agencies and find the local fire department emergency numbers for your home town and places you frequent. For L.A. County, where we are, the number is 1-800-688-8000. Now put that in your cell phone… and we hope you never have to use it.