Let’s talk a little bit about automated external defibrillators, commonly known as AEDs or what I like to call them in my class for ease of reference, the ‘shockey box.’ Yes, I am serious about that. As soon as I look at the class and ask do you know what an automated external defibrillator is, I get blank stares; as soon as I say shockey box, everybody immediately says, “OH, the stuff on TV that shocks the people back to life!” This just goes to show that they may not remember the technical term or name for a device, but once you give them something relatable, everything clicks in.
The same could be said for training. Participants in training programs most likely will not remember all of the technical terms. Still, as soon as an emergency situation hits, it should just click when needed if they had the proper training with a qualified and engaging instructor paired with good quality equipment. This is why we use plain English, easy-to-understand terms and don’t overcomplicate everything. With good quality CPR and early defibrillation, you can raise your chances of survival up to 75%. Sixty-one percent of Canadians said that they would perform CPR when in reality it’s less than 40% that do. Shocking eh.
When it comes to training, I literally just had a class yesterday that not one person in the class ever saw a Preston Manikin let alone the Brayden ones. They were shocked at how hard you had to push on these manikins compared to the old blue foam ones. Within the 15 person class, two people personally had heart attacks in the past, and two more knew somebody close to them who had one. Yet they were still surprised by the amount they learned during my class, especially when we spoke about women versus men’s heart attacks and how they are so different. (We will touch on that a little bit later in part three of our series. I know you hear it from me on repeat, but this is why good first aid training is essential with instructors who actually care about what they’re teaching and with consistent core information. Not one person in that class said any of their previous instructors broke down in simple terms the differences and what to look for in both men and women for signs and symptoms (they are required to take First Aid every two years for work). Some of these people have been working in this profession for 18 years. How is there still so much inconsistency with how instructors are teaching coast to coast?
With 15 people in my class, this was how it went:
• three people said that you don’t breathe into people anymore,
• at least two others said that the compressions to breaths ratio was 15 to 2,
• another couple of them said it was 20 to 3
• and a few more were positive that you blow into people first.
When I asked them how they felt about not knowing, they all unanimously agreed that they didn’t feel confident enough to do anything, but they would call 911. The majority of the class except for two said that they never were able to use an AED in any class that they have taken before. One of the two said they were able to apply pads to a manikin and the second person only saw an instructor demonstrate how to use one. The use of an AED from a bystander is only used in 3% of cases.
Why are we not better at equipping participants to feel confident in an emergency? Why are we limiting equipment that participants can use and learn from? Why do we still have people absolutely terrified to do anything? These are vital life-saving skills, and we have people scared that they may make one wrong step or one wrong move or won’t remember ABCDE steps in exact order. Placing fear in participants does not promote confidence, nor does it make them feel like they are competent enough to help.
Next week’s blog will talk about the Good Samaritan Act.