First Aid

Playground Safety: What You Need In Your First Aid Kit

Children need to play. However, no matter how well the preventive measures go, accidents happen. As such, it's important to have a First Aid Kit

What exactly is First Aid?

Accidents can happen any in time. When it does, it’s good to know lifesaving methods to act swiftly. At such times, knowing first aid is

EMR

The Journey to Being an EMR: How Hard Are Certification Courses?

Just how hard is it to be an Emergency Medical Responder? Today, we take a closer look at the courses we can take to be

What is an Emergency Medical Responder?

Saving lives is no easy task. It’s not even something that most people try to do. Yet there are special individuals that make it their

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Battling the Panic: How I Nearly Lost My Mother to a Heart Attack

Hello, everyone! I’m Cherry and I’m a Certified First Responder in Columbus, OH. I was quite moved when I read the personal post of the Yolanda survivor a couple of months back. So I wanted to share my own story. I wanted to share the time when I was relatively new at being an EMR.

I had always wanted to save people and I had saved up enough money to register for an emergency medical responder course. Training was hard. I had to remember so much and the physical tests were tough as well. I somehow managed to pull through and I was pretty pleased with myself about it.

I got my certification and I felt like I was on top of the world. As terrible as it sound, I was actually constantly scanning the horizon for any incidences that may require my assistance. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I wanted people to get hurt. It was just that I was so eager to test out my newly acquired knowledge and skills.

But you know that thing that life always says right? Be careful what you wish for.

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It was a pleasant Sunday brunch for me and my family. We’re a close bunch so we always try to bring the whole family around for Sundays. I was in the kitchen scraping off the last bits of Mama’s famous Shepherd’s Pie when I heard the commotion in the living room. I had to run and see what was going on. The kids were crying and my siblings were panicking. They were all around a crumpled body. My Mama right there on the floor, grasping at her chest and gasping for air.

I wish I could say my training kicking in and I immediately swooped in to save the day. I was hit by panic, just as badly as my siblings were panicking. I felt like I was at such a loss. The demons of panic clawed at my chest but I had to resist. I had to remember I needed to give emergency medical care. It took me a while but I knew I had to do this!

I yelled at my sister to call 911 and tell the dispatcher that Mama was having a heart attack. I bent down to where she was and loosened any tight clothing. She was unresponsive so I had to administer CPR. I felt my finger shake throughout the whole thing. It took the ambulance around 4 minutes to get to our house where they whisked her away to the hospital.

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I was in such a fright. What if I had done something wrong? What if I did more harm? Yet, somehow, I didn’t. I still have my Mama.

The EMT told me later on that I saved her life. I can tell you for a fact that you will feel panic. What’s important is to remember your training and fight the panic. Ram through your fright and you will save a life.

The Journey to Being an EMR: How Hard Are Certification Courses?

Just how hard is it to be an Emergency Medical Responder? Today, we take a closer look at the courses we can take to be certified and its difficulty.

It is no secret that not everyone can become an EMR. It takes guts, dedication, and commitment. When a person decides to become a certified first responder, what is there to do? The answer is simple: sign up for a certification course.

Are there requirements to take a certification course?

Yes, there are. While the requirements may vary depending on what country or organization is giving the course, there are certain universal criteria to be eligible.

First of all, the applicant should be at least sixteen years of age. They should be in good (not necessarily peak) health. The duties of an EMR can take a physical toll; so as much as possible, they want applicants to have stamina. The applicant must have a solid knowledge of Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Some organizations will require the applicant to be at a professional rescuer level when it comes to CPR. They may even ask for suitable certification for it.

Applicants must submit a completed criminal background affidavit, often, in their own hand. Beyond that, anyone is eligible to take the course.

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Is there a written exam?

Yes, there is. However, it is to be noted that there are usually two written exams. One exam is done at the start to see who passes basic knowledge. The latter exam is done at the end of the course as a “finals” of sort. The duration of the exam is normally 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Those who wish to certify as an EMR need a minimum passing score of 70%.

Is a written exam all that’s required?

No, it is not. Other than the written exam, there is a physical test. EMRs need to suitably show proper application of skills and methods learned during training.

After getting a passing grade, is that all there is?

Yes and no. Once a trainee successfully completes the written and physical exam, they are now fully certified EMRs. However, there is often a mandatory bi-annual refresher course that certified EMRs need to undergo.

These refresher courses often last for 3 days. If the EMR does not take the refresher course within the prescribed date, they will have to undergo full training once again.

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What do you learn in a certification course anyway?

By willfully undertaking the Emergency Medical Responder Course, you are expected to be familiar with several lifesaving methods. Some of these are: pharmacology, assessment of medical emergencies, providing ongoing assessment until advance care in on-site, the identification and management of airway problems, using and applying oxygen delivery devices, etc.

So as you can see, there is a lot to pick up from a certification course.

How long does a course last?

While it may vary depending on the advancement of the course you choose, most EMRs certification classes cover around 40 hours of classroom and hands-on exercises.

Playground Safety: What You Need In Your First Aid Kit

Children need to play. However, no matter how well the preventive measures go, accidents happen. As such, it’s important to have a First Aid Kit ready.

What is a First Aid Kit?

It is an assortment of medical supplies and equipment on standby. The bag or case where the medical supplies are kept must be clearly marked and highly visible. There are medical kits that are sold in hospitals that come in bright blue or vivid red containers. These make them easy to spot.

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It is understandable that most people cannot purchase an actual medical kit as there might be some concern regarding cost. A slapdash first aid kit can be made too. If you’re caring for children, it is important to have the most basic of the first aid kit in your possession.

What should be in a First Aid Kit?

As we’re discussing playground safety, we have registered Nurse Sam, who works at a Children’s Hospital, to share some tips with us.

“When dealing with children, it’s important that your kit be armed with plasters or adhesive bandages. As a distracting measure, we try to stock brightly colored plasters or those that come in various designs.”

We asked why this would help and Nurse Sam had this to say: “Kids are very receptive to suggestion. So if you tell them that their boo-boo won’t hurt as much because of a “Princess” or “Hero” plaster, they’ll believe you. The last thing you want is a crying and panicking child when you’re trying to administer first aid.”

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What else should be in the kit?

Nurse Sam suggests that disposable sterile gloves are a must. When dealing with a cut or a scrape, it is crucial to get the area as clean as possible. Ensuring that the hands of whoever is administering first aid are clean and gloved, is a step in the right direction. In that light, having antiseptic washes in your first aid kit for kids is a must.

Sterile gauze dressings of various sizes are a must as well. Kids play around so a splinter or two will be expected. Having tweezers in your kit would be helpful.

“It would be prudent to be prepared for any bites, stings or allergies.” says Nurse Sam. With this in mind, it would be smart for guardians to know beforehand any sort of allergies that the children they’re caring for must have.

Stories from the Field: Surviving Super Typhoon Yolanda

It seemed that God had turned his back on us that month. To anyone else it would just be another November. To me, it was the month Typhoon Yolanda came.

My family and I were vacationing in Cebu. We were from a different part of Visayas and we were visiting some relatives. We knew that there was going to be a typhoon. When you live in the middle part of the Philippines, it’s pretty much a common occurrence during rainy seasons. So we didn’t postpone our trip and we went ahead.

The sky was gray but that wasn’t anything out of the usual. It was windy, yes, but it was tolerable. Nothing truly indicating that it was to be the disaster it became. Our government had assured us that the storm was large but should not be anything too damaging. The local government had also assured us that we merely needed to bunker in and wait the storm out. It wasn’t very comforting given that two weeks earlier, a quake had struck. Still, we believed them. They should know, right? They’re the government.

Then early in the morning there was an unearthly howling heard. The roof of the sturdy house we were in was shaking as if the wind itself had claws—trying to carve its way in. I wanted to peer through the windows but they were covered in boards that were hammered in to keep as much of the debris out as possible. I remember the howling becoming louder and louder. I remember the room shaking but not much else after. I vaguely remember the feeling of rain on my skin. It was a chill that kissed my very bones. My memories of what followed are shot. I only remember snippets.

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What I know is that the home we were in was destroyed. I knew where I was—buried under some rubble of the wall that used to be a bedroom. I remember knowing that my family should be nearby but they weren’t. I know that someone pulled me out from under the wreckage but I don’t know who and I don’t know when. I was told that it was medical teams from Davao City who had tirelessly labored and tried to find as many of us as they could.

I lost my brothers that day. I lost cousins and aunts as well. Days before I was surrounded by a loving family. Now, there was only me.

I thank whoever it was who rescued me. I understood that if it wasn’t for the swift actions of a certified first responder’s squad, I would have joined my family in death. I never knew how much could change in the span of a month.

“Lucky” is what they call me. I don’t know if such a title can aptly describe what I am. I am a daughter without a mother. I am a sister without her brothers. This tragedy is etched in my soul. That and knowing that I was saved by people I will never know.

What exactly is First Aid?

Accidents can happen any in time. When it does, it’s good to know lifesaving methods to act swiftly. At such times, knowing first aid is very crucial. Time is often not your friend when it comes to emergencies.

Think back to when you were a childhood accident. When you scraped your knee or bumped your head, what was done right away? Assuming you or someone else called an adult who knew first aid, you would have been treated immediately. Scrapes were cleansed, disinfected, and you probably got an adhesive bandage placed on you. When you were a kid, the more colorful it is the better. Bumps were cooled with ice packs. You may not have realized it back then but these were carefully administered first aid.

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What is meant by First Aid?

If you want to get technical about it, the definition of first aid is any form of assistance given to anyone suffering an illness or injury. The goals of first aid are direct and simple. These are to preserve life, prevent further harm, and promote recovery.

Now that you are in the realm of adults and first aid can often mean critical harm or imminent recovery, it’s important to understand its basic principles.

Where can you learn First Aid?

Most schools have basic first aid training but for the more advanced medical aid, formal training and instruction is required. It would be folly to assume that first aid methods do not change. In light of this, when one is suitable certified for first aid, it is necessary to undergo refresher courses.

When you’re trying to stave off further harm, updating your lifesaving skills is a must. Courses in First Aid are often available through organizations such as Red Cross. Most hospitals also offer courses for interested parties.

Are there different First Aid Disciplines?

Yes, there are. Demanding on the situation and location, the type of first aid applied will vary. There will usually be additional training required for specialized first aid like those in battlefield conditions or wilderness first aid.

As society is growing further into its understanding of mental illness, there are now specialized methods in place for mental health first aid.

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What other conditions can require the need for first aid?

Anaphylaxis is often a life-threatening condition that requires immediate first aid. This occurs when a severe allergic reaction which those with sting or peanut allergies experience.

Bone fractures and burns are conditions that need first aid care as well. We’re certain that you’re familiar with the concept of choking. The Heimlich maneuver, a popular move, is actually a first aid method. So you only need to think about it to fully realize that first aid may be applied for pretty much everyday occurrences.

If you ever want to be truly helpful to your fellow man, knowing the basics of First Aid can often mean the difference between a severe injury and eventual recovery. Be aware of any classes available in your area and sign up!

What is an Emergency Medical Responder?

Saving lives is no easy task. It’s not even something that most people try to do. Yet there are special individuals that make it their life’s mission to be there when others need it the most. You’ve probably seen them. They’re first to respond in any medical emergency. They can either come in ambulances or helicopters but they’re always the first ones there. Yes, we’re talking about Emergency Medical Responders (EMR).

Another name they’re called by would be “certified first responder”. We see these people at the site of an accident or a natural disaster. There is some confusion about first responders versus emergency medical responders. A first responder is someone who has trained in basic first aid. They are usually police officers, fire fighters, and even some paramedics.

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A Certified First Responder or Emergency Medical Responder is anyone who has successfully and dutifully completed a course and received proper certification regarding the provision of pre-hospital care in the event of medical emergencies.  They provide immediate care to patients who are varying states of medical distress.

The courses and certification exams vary from country to country. The jurisdictions in which they are allowed and expected to act vary as well. For example, in Canada, certified first responders have a Duty to Act in any and all events of medical emergencies. If they fail to do so, they can be prosecuted for negligence. In the USA, EMRs provide the initial emergency care on the scene as they are often the first to arrive. They then support any Emergency Medical Technicians or Paramedics that subsequently arrive.

What Skills Are They Expected To Have?

EMRs are expected to know bleeding control, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), to skillfully use automated external defibrillators (AED), apply positive pressure ventilation with a bag valve mask, other rudimentary first aid, and should effectively package, move, and transport patients.

The ability to stay calm under extreme duress and keep a clear logical mind is a must. Be prepared to undergo several hours of training under different scenarios.

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Certified first responders undergo hundreds of hours of training in order to get certified. Depending on what country you’re in, there are several organizations available like the American Red Cross that conducts courses for EMRs. If you are ever interested in becoming an EMR, we wholly salute you. Feel free to peruse our other articles to see if you have what it takes to be an EMR.

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