Yesterday, staff of Guest House participated in First Aid and CPR training. The now certified group had a great time working with Eric Pittman, Program Coordinator of Citywide CPR; he came all the way from Chicago to offer his wonderful services.
According to the American Heart Association, fireplace bellows were first used to force air into a person’s mouth in 1530. It was not until 1740 when mouth-to-mouth resuscitation was first recommended by the Paris Academy of Sciences. And in 1891 Dr. Friedrich Maass was the first to document the use of chest compressions on a patient. Finally, in 1960, a few pioneers of resuscitation combined both mouth-to-mouth and chest compressions to create what we call Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). CPR used to be a life-saving action only performed by physicians and professionals, but thanks to public training sessions, and easy techniques, many people have learned this skill. However, people are still wary of taking action in situations requiring CPR for fear of legal issues, incorrect performance of CPR, or infectious diseases from giving mouth-to-mouth.
In order to help people overcome these fears, the American Heart Association and other organizations giving CPR training have adapted their methods of delivering training and information, so that people will feel more confident in their abilities to save a life. One adaptation is the Hands-Only method of CPR, which consists only of chest compressions, and not mouth-to-mouth so the risk of infection is eliminated. Organizations are also offering handy kits to teach CPR anywhere at anytime, so as many people as possible can learn the skill.
Together the staff of Guest House learned new ways to help people with First Aid and CPR. They also learned about some common misconceptions, for instance, a seizure victim should have a spoon placed on his tongue to prevent him from swallowing it. Eric explained that it has been scientifically proven physically impossible to swallow one’s tongue, and it is in fact dangerous to put anything into a seizure victim’s mouth. Another misconception was the benefit of rubbing areas stricken with frostbite. He explained it is better to slowly warm frostbitten fingers, not rub them to create friction and heat because that will end up causing even more damage. He also pointed out that it is actually detrimental to apply any kind of healing salve such as aloe to a burn that is worse than first degree. Aloe can be put on first degree burns, but for those burns requiring hospital attention, only run cool water over the burned area (do not place the burned area in water), and wait for the ambulance to arrive.
Eric Pittman did a great job; he made the four-hour training fun and engaging. The staff learned a lot and feel better able to care for anyone needing First Aid or CPR. They had a good time practicing on the dummies and yelling “Call 911! Get an AED!” which are all first steps to caring for a victim in a emergency situation. The first of course being: assess the situation and make sure the scene is safe to enter.