Sunday, April 01, 2007
I've received a lot of useless training in the last few years, so I decided I should get some training that might actually have some value. I signed up for a CPR class with the Red Cross. I hope this helps make up for any bad karma associated with the weapons training.
The class covered CPR for adults, children, and infants. The class went from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM, with a 40-minute lunch break. The class was held at the local Red Cross offices.
There were thirteen people in the class, ten of whom were young women. I think the Red Cross should publicize this fact, to attract more males.
The instructor and the training materials were very good. The Red Cross really has its act together when it comes to training. Each student received a manual, a couple of quick-reference cards, disposable gloves, alcohol swabs and breathing barriers. We also each got our own "face" to put on the CPR training mannequins. The infant mannequins were shared between partners, but I was lucky enough to be the odd man who didn't have to share.
The class went at a brisk pace. I never felt bored. During the early part of the class, we all laughed a little at the stilted acting in the training videos, but the content of the videos was very good.
I had some CPR training in high school. Most of that is a blur, but I remember enough to notice that many things about CPR are simpler now. For example, in my earlier training they made a big deal about measuring to find the exact spot above the sternum where one should apply pressure; now they just say to put your hand on the center of the chest. They also used to have different numbers of repetitions of breaths and compressions for adults and children, but now they use the same numbers for everyone. They no longer try to check for a pulse on adult victims before starting chest compressions.
The mood of the class turned somber after one young woman in the class told her story of how, as a young girl, she and her brother lost their mother to a heart attack. They had called 911, but the two kids had to keep running back and forth between the room where their mother was and the room where the phone was, and the mother died before help arrived. She broke down while telling her story, and it was clear that she blamed herself for not being able to do more. The instructor responded by reassuring her that she had done the right thing by calling 911 and doing what the operator said, and that no matter how well you are trained, or how perfectly you perform the skills, sometimes the victim doesn't make it, and those who try to help should not feel guilty when that happens.
Anyone taking a CPR class should be aware that there is a lot of physical activity. Everyone was sweaty and winded after giving CPR for two minutes (the room was a bit warm). The instructors do make allowances for people who are physically unable to perform some of the exercises, but in any event, make sure you wear comfortable clothes if you take the class.
After scoring 100% on the final exam, which wasn't too difficult, I now have another certification card to put into my already-bulging wallet. I guess it's time to take out the pilot certificate.
Of course, you could go on to become an EMT, and a helicopter pilot and you could get the hot-nurse-magnet combo of "Life Flight Pilot".