So today was my day at the local St. John's Ambulance to renew my first aid certificate for work. It had been years since I'd taken the course, but like riding a bike, it's not something you'll forget.
- Let me say this now - I believe that most first aid is common sense. If you use your head (and the tips the course gives you) you, and hopefully anyone you may have to apply first aid to, will be fine.
That being said, they completely "dumbed down" the course this year. After the first session started I, and some of the guys who work with me who had taken the course years ago, commented to our instructor that it seems they were glossing over or omitting some of the stuff from previous years.
- And I'm not talking minor stuff either - important things, like how to check for a pulse, the jaw lift method of opening the airway (if you suspect a broken neck), and dealing with a protruding bone or embedded object.
Sure, we covered how to get a speck of dust out of your eye, and how to properly fill out a first aid report (as mandated by Worksafe BC), but if you get injured around me and your femur is sticking out from your leg, I'll do my best to not make it worse, but you're probably fucked until someone better comes along.
It's kinda sad that they have had to aim for the lowest common denominator when providing these classes - I think it doesn't show a lot of faith in people and what they are capable of. If you want to ensure that a common individual has the basic skills, this course was great - but its supposed to be gearing towards being a first aid attendant or supervisor/manager...and that kinda scares me.
Luckily, (or unlucky, if you are the casualty) they teach you to just do your best, call for help, do what's necessary to save a life while protecting your own, and wait until someone more qualified than you comes along.
More qualified, you say? If karma is working and in your favor, you'll break that femur 10 feet from me and 30 from a hospital. (Otherwise your outlook isn't good.)
But have no fear- I aced the final exam - 20/20.
"I'm a First Aider, can I help you?"