Willingness to Help in an Emergency
Many people in the workforce have to take first aid and CPR courses every few years as part of their work requirements. Theoretically, this should help us be prepared not only for work emergencies, but for emergencies at home as well. This is a good thing!! According to recent statistics from the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada, there are approximately 40,000 sudden cardiac arrests (SCAs) witnessed outside of hospitals in Canada every year. In other words, every 12-13 minutes, someone’s heart stops beating and they need CPR. Around 80% of the time, this occurs in a public or residential setting. So, we should be ready when this happens, right?
Not necessarily. Out of those 40,000 people, only 1 of every 3 people will get the CPR that they need.
Why? What is holding us back from helping in an emergency? It’s not lack of training. If that IS the issue, that’s an easy fix – take a first aid and CPR course. You can learn CPR in just a few hours. But what are some other issues that can keep people that have already taken a course from helping? How can we get around these barriers to action?
The Bystander Effect: “Someone else will do it.” It’s a common thought that if you see people already at an emergency situation, we assume the person is being helped. Check anyway – do they need a first aid kit? Do they need someone to control the crowd or direct traffic? Can you help with chest compressions in CPR?
- Unpleasant injuries or illnesses: “That makes me sick!” Many people have trouble seeing large amounts of blood, vomit, major injuries, and so on. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, calm yourself down. Remember that you can always call 911 and the dispatcher can help walk you through a situation until EMS arrives. If you can’t do anything else, you can help in indirect ways such as crowd or traffic control.
- Fear of catching a disease: This is a legitimate concern, but something that is very easily overcome. Check your first aid kit (because you have one, right?) for two items: non-latex gloves (such as nitrile or vinyl), and a CPR barrier device. These two items go a very long way towards preventing disease and make most people feel far more comfortable to provide first aid. You can even get a CPR face shield and gloves that fold up small enough to fit on a keychain - so there’s no real reason not to have one.
- Fear of doing something wrong or causing more harm: “What if I make the person worse?” The most harmful thing you can do is nothing at all. Any injuries that might happen as a result of CPR (for example, cracked ribs) will heal. You also don’t need to worry about legal issues from giving first aid – as long as you are acting according to your first aid training and are not negligent, there are laws in every province that protect first aiders.
To take a first aid or CPR course, or purchase first aid kits, AEDs, or other equipment, contact Aurora Training Corp at firstname.lastname@example.org .