This month l want to talk about being prepared and proactive. You’ve heard me use both words many times in the past. Being prepared for anything is important, not only as it relates to public safety but also in life in general.
As for being proactive, taking steps ahead of time to better prepare yourself for the unknown, versus just being reactive after something already happened. Today I will speak specifically in the area of be prepared for medical situations.
Our patrol staff participates in ongoing medical training either as an Emergency Medical Responder or Emergency Medical Technician. We are blessed to have great ambulance services, fire and rescue agencies and even a medical helicopter stationed in our county. Let’s not forget our hospitals in the immediate area as well. But there are things you can do to increase the chances of survival for victims of medical emergencies, crashes or work accidents. This could be a complete stranger or it could be a friend or family member. So what are some things you can do so that you are prepared when something happens in your presence?
Step one, take a CPR class. CPR is cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. You can find classes in almost every community, through Community Ed, the American Red Cross, churches or maybe even at work. They only take a morning or afternoon out of your schedule. They teach you how to do adult CPR, child and infant CPR, and what to do if someone is choking.
CPR is important to keep the blood moving to the vital organs throughout your body. Most classes include AED (automated external defibrillator) training as well. The AED delivers an electric shock in an attempt to get the heart beating again and restore an effective heart rhythm. The sooner CPR and defibrillation are used, the better chances for survival and less chance for brain damage. For each minute defibrillation is delayed, the odds of survival are reduced by 10%.
Step 2, take a first aid class. You can find these through Community Ed, the American Red Cross, churches and possibly your employers as well. I think this class is just as important as the CPR and AED training. You never know when an emergency will happen. It could be a traffic crash, a bike crash, some kind of trauma both at work or at home. It could be a laceration or amputation, a stroke or seizure, or a burn or even a stroke. You could be camping, hiking or hunting. You might not be close to a town or within quick response for first responders. Knowing what to do can make a huge difference for the victim.
Stopping bleeding and treating victims for shock are very important and should be done immediately. How to dress wounds and even using a tourniquet can mean the difference between life and death.
The first thing everyone should do in an emergency is contact 911 and get the first responders rolling. Then put your preparation to the test by taking action with your first aid training. We have seen it many times in our jobs and even recognized residents for saving a life and making a difference before we arrived on scene.
I was fortunate to learn basic first aid and CPR as a young teenager with the Boy Scouts at Troop 304 in Faribault. At age 14, I used my CPR training at a Minnesota Gophers football game and numerous other times since then. I’ve witnessed many saves throughout my career and it’s an unbelievable feeling to see someone survive a traumatic event because of the actions you perform. So now it’s up to you to be proactive and take the next step to possibly make a difference in our community. Be Safe!