You may now have a medical emergency around me (until 2010).

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I didn't post all weekend.  But I have a good excuse!  I spent all day Saturday taking an Adult First Aid/CPR/AED class at the Palo Alto Area Red Cross.

I'd last taken a first aid class in 2004, before Tony, Steph, and I rode to Alaska.  We all took the class together, figuring that we should probably be able to splint up one another should the need arise. 

Fortunately, it never did arise, but it piqued an interest in first aid/first responder info for me. 

Some of that is just my personality — I have panic disorder that I pretty much never talk about on this site, but it manifests in some severe hypochondria sometimes.  Learning as much as possible about anatomy/physiology has helped me keep that under control.

Also, I just like being prepared and helping people.  I've always wanted to take EMT classes but have never been able to work it into my work schedule, so CPR/AED it is for the time being.

I was the only person in the class taking it for personal interest; most people were there because their jobs or some activity required it.  There was a woman who taught horseback riding to disabled kids, an arborist, a personal trainer, two high school kids who needed the class for graduation requirements, and a woman who wanted to lead her daughter's Girl Scout troop.

The first half of the class (9am-12pm) focused on CPR.  I'd last taken CPR about 15 years ago, so it was a great review for me.  The mannequins are creepy as ever, especially with the little fake "lung" that inflates its chest when you give it a rescue breath.  Uncanny valley, anyone?

The second half of the class (1pm-4pm) was First Aid, which was a breeze for me since I read up on it fairly often.  I don't think I really learned anything new, but it solidified skills I already had, which is important.

First Aid certification is good for 3 years and CPR certification is good for 1 year, but since I do it for "fun" and not a job requirement, I'll try to take the classes every 2 years. 


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12 Responses to You may now have a medical emergency around me (until 2010).

  1. Sandi says:

    Woot! Good job! Do you carry one of those dam thingies with you, so if you suddenly have to give mouth-to-mouth to a stranger, you can avoid stranger vomit?
    I got CPR certified once, when it was required to take the ACE aerobics instructor certification test. Sad, but true, and yes, it was in the early 90’s. 🙂

  2. carolyn says:

    Sandi: I carry one now! They gave us a little keychain packet in the class, containing a breathing barrier, a pair of gloves, and an “oh shit” card (basically just a really fast review of CPR).
    Ken: There’s a guy around here that offers a biker first aid class but I’ve never taken it. I’ve had a hard time even finding “generic” first responder classes; most of my knowledge of that has been common sense and reading stuff online.
    I *really* want to find a training class that talks about how to remove a helmet. I’ve read about it, but that’s no replacement for practicing with an instructor who knows what s/he’s doing.

  3. Ken Haylock says:

    The advantage of the ‘Bike focussed’ class is that it attracts mass participation from bikers; entire bike clubs will go and do a ‘First bike on scene’ course en-block, whereas almost none of them would voluntarily pay to go along to a generic first aid class, even though 85-90% of the syllabus is identical, and well over 95% is useful in scenarios that have nothing to do with a motorcycle accident.
    So it’s a case of ‘build it and they will come’ – design a syllabus, advertise and promote a course, and bikers can be persuaded to beat down your doors to take it!

  4. Sandi says:

    LOL on the “oh shit” card. I would need that for sure!

  5. carolyn says:

    Thanks, Ken! That’s nice of you to say. The Wikipedia article on panic disorder is pretty good; I’ve read it a few times before.
    I’ve heard that most people will suffer a panic attack during their lives (usually during stress). In some ways, I think it’s easier for me because now I recognize the symptoms and know what’s going on.

  6. Colin says:

    Not to in any way discourage people from learning CPR (I’m certified), but I was shocked to learn how unlikely it is to actually save a life.
    I saw a special on PBS about it, and Wikipedia cites similar statistics.
    On TV and movies, the “survival” rate is portrayed to be about 75%.
    In real life, it’s under 5% if given by a bystander (presumably trained) though that rises to 30% if defibrillation is given within 3-5 minutes (unlikely in the field).

  7. carolyn says:

    Our course really stressed how AEDs help significantly. Eh, I figure that 5% is a better statistic than the 0% I’d be helping if I wasn’t trained.

  8. Red says:

    This is a reminder for me to take a CPR class like I’ve been telling myself to for a year now. My worst nightmare is seeing a rider go down in the middle of nowhere and not be able to do anything to help them.

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