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Recently I attended a CPR / First Aid course - the first I've attended in many years. Over the two days the instructor put us in unfamiliar mock emergency situations to test our response. We addressed anaphylaxis, shock, diabetes, fever, choking, unconsciousness, head injuries, heart attack, asthma, major bleeding, poisoning, hypothermia, burns, strains and sprains.
I did pretty well on strains and sprains (thank goodness), but I was less than confident in response to many common emergency situations - like chemical burns, shock or poisonings. I was humbled, and I wondered how many massage practitioners would be equally challenged in response to an emergency in their home-based or small clinic practice.
The instructor spoke of "critical incident stress" where a first aid/CPR responder may be negatively affected by the experience of the event. I want to be prepared - not forever questioning my actions or inaction should I face (and it's likely we all will face at some point) an emergency.
Useful acronyms like WARTS for shock (Warmth, ABCs, Rest and Reassurance, Treatment, and Semi-prone position), RED for major bleeding (Rest, Elevate and Direct Pressure), RICE for sprain/strain (Rest, Immobilize, Cold and Elevate) and of course ABC (Airway, Breathing, Circulation) for unconscious persons help us to plan our actions quickly when emergencies happen.
I vow to take a full CPR/First Aid course annually to improve my response to potential emergency situations - I encourage you to do the same. Find courses at St. John's Ambulance, Canadian Red Cross / American Red Cross or a local college or university.
And make sure your family is ready for emergencies too! Have a look at the 72 Hour Emergency Preparedness Guide. Great info for preparing emergency kits for the car and your home.
When emergency happens, be prepared as a health care provider, a family member and a citizen of your community and country. Please.