Do you know how to respond?

The craze of training has begun.

For the next few months my brain is going to be overloaded with all things SCUBA.

Tonight was the first step towards Rescue Diver with the Emergency First Response/CPR certification class. The class covers all your basics on responding to an emergency and teaches the skills required for taking action.

As is typical with these types of classes, the first part of the evening involved watching a film probably made in the early 90’s (judging by the brick of a cell phone one “rescuer” pulled from her pocket). The film helps to ingrain all the skills we had read about in the manual and is able to give us the idea of what responding is really like. Of course the fact that every rescuer, whether driving their car or out for an afternoon jog had latex gloves in their pocket seemed a bit unlikely, but barrier protection is an important aspect of keeping yourself safe while helping others, so I get why everyone miraculously had gloves. A bit corny, but the video definitely wasn’t the worst instructional film I’ve ever seen.

After the video it was a bit of review then right into the Final Exam. I only missed 2 on each part of the exam, both of which were questions with multiple answers to check off and I missed one small part of a whole question (for examples, headaches are a sign of shock or poisoning is not an injury but an illness). Overall I felt pretty good with the material, mostly because it’s pretty simple stuff and the book and video are very repetitive to cement the facts and steps in your head.

Instructor Jessica demonstrates CPR - Checking for breathing by looking, listening and feeling for breath.

The final portion of the class was the practical scenarios. We practiced the log roll – turning an unresponsive victim while being wary of and supporting their head in case of a spinal injury. I was paired up with a guy larger than myself, so this was tougher than it looked, but I rolled him over successfully! Next, the CPR dummies were pulled out, and after watching Jessica demonstrate, we paired up and started trying to resuscitate our dummies. 2 breaths followed by 30 chest compressions, at 100 compressions per minute seems somewhat daunting, but a nice little tip offered by Jessica was helpful for keeping compressions at a good speed. Ironically, the song “Stayin’ Alive” is at a pace of 100 beats per minute, so if you sing that (better safe to sing in your head) while giving compressions you’ll stay on track!

Instructor Jessica demonstrates the back thrust method of choking aid.

After CPR, was choking and I was amazed at even without any force behind the movements you could definitely feel the pressure on your lungs trying to force air up and out during the Heimlich abdominal thrust maneuver. Here’s a tip I learned tonight. If you’re ever alone and start to choke, you can perform an abdominal thrust on yourself by leaning over a chair or counter and ramming it into the area a rescuer would apply the thrust.

Acting out the scenarios definitely felt funny with no sense of urgency or rush to work to save someone’s life. We were laughing at parts, and may have felt odd yelling out into the empty SCUBA shop, but I know that practicing these skills is what helps us to remember, and that if I’m ever in an emergency situation I will be able to stop, think and act.

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