Saturday morning, the Red Cross is holding free first aid classes at more than 100 locations around the US. It's an abbreviated version of their full, paid class in honor of US Rep Gabby Giffords. It'll cover basic things like hands-only CPR. It's not the full course, but I think that this is a great opportunity to get some basic training and information. The courses are supposed to run 30-45 minutes. My nearest class is at the Bass Pro Shop at the local mall, and they're running from 9 am to noon. You can find the location nearest you here:
I know it's late notice (I don't think they advertised this very well), but is anyone else planning on attending one of these events?
I made it out for the 11 am class. Nine other people showed up for the class, about half of them children accompanying their parents. Upon signup, each participant was given a pair of nitrile gloves, a gauze pad, bandage, and handout on the topics to be covered.
First up was chest compressions, which I didn't know how to do beforehand. They didn't cover mouth-to-mouth, and focused on proper hand placement and trying to maintain a rate of 100 compressions per minute until paramedics arrive.
Next up was bandaging. Everyone paired up and took turns applying a gauze pad to the "wound," and maintaining pressure while wrapping it with a gauze bandage. We were taught how to tie off the bandage, rather than use a butterfly closure. The instructor stated that the knot was more secure, and wouldn't come off if the person your bandaging starts moving around.
The third topic covered was the use of automatic electronic defibrillators. This part wasn't hands-on, and we had to settle for listening to the instructor talk about them while demoing the technique with a non-functioning training model. Still interesting, though.
Last up was recognizing and dealing with shock. They had a simple rhyme for remembering this: "If the face is pail, raise the tail. If the face is red, raise the head. If the face is blue, it's up to you." Cheesy, but effective. I didn't write it down in my notes, but it stuck. Something that surprised me was that they discourage offering food or water, in case the person ends up needing surgery.
The most important lesson of all? Call 911.
Overall I thought it was an informative little course. No, it's not a substitute for a fuller training, but I knew more at the end of the class than i did at the beginning, so I'm pleased.
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