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Good Samaritan Act - Why You’re Covered Even if You Don’t Know What You’re Doing.

Last week, I wrote about how I was shocked at the inconsistent information retained by most of my participants from previous first aid classes. One thing I do hear over and over consistently is how people feel like they don’t have the skills to confidently save a life if needed, regardless of how many times they’ve taken first aid classes. Many worry about the consequence of doing something wrong what will happen. Or perhaps making it worse, the one thing I like to ask my participants is what is worse than death? Dead kind of seems like the worst day ever at this point, so breaking a few ribs while performing CPR isn’t necessarily going to make things worse if anything, you could make things better and save a life. And if you really want to get them to it, they don’t even do anything for broken ribs anymore; they don’t tape, they don’t wrap, they just tell you to go home and try not to cough or sneeze for the next 2 to 3 months. Breaking ribs is one of the common concerns that I get from most participants, and I think being able to put their minds at ease and letting them know that it’s going to happen, but it’s OK will help give them the confidence not to live in fear.
This is why we have the Good Samaritan act so that participants can understand that if they are doing reasonable acts with the intention to do good, not to further harm, they are covered. I am still surprised at how many participants have absolutely no idea that there is some form of a Good Samaritan Act out there in every province. As instructors and business owners, we need to step it up. There are so many instances where we are the link to teaching people how to be the connection between life and death during an emergency situation. What we are doing clearly is not good enough, considering that our survival rates for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest are less than 10% across Canada. 
There are over 35,000 deaths from heart-related incidences in Canada every year. This is the leading cause of death in Canada because over a third of Canadian deaths are from coronary disease every year. To put it into perspective, that’s almost 100 per day or 4 per hour or one every 15 minutes. 
I always like to draw a little diagram in my class to show how quickly a brain can die without oxygen and breathing. Within 4 to 6 minutes, your brain begins to die without oxygen, and you are clinically classified as brain dead by the time you hit the 10-minute mark. I like to go through and explain to participants at the 4-6 minute mark what it looks like, the seven, eight, nine, and the 10-minute mark your person is brain dead. Given that ambulance response times average 8 to 12 minutes across Canada, this really doesn’t give a person much hope for survival if the bystander does absolutely nothing but call 911. Being able to have these visuals for participants in seeing how quick somebody can die without oxygen to the brain, and then showing them what their response times are for their area really hits home for them, so they see that if there is an emergency if they do nothing their loved one will most likely die. There’s a profound moment when you see participants click, and they get why it’s so important to do something. That is a moment that every instructor should strive for. 

The moral of this blog post is as long as you’re not doing tracheotomies with a ballpoint pen that you’ve seen on TV, you’re covered.


As instructors, we need to instill confidence in the participants, make learning fun and rememberable, and ensure that participants feel no hesitation or doubt when they need to act quickly to save a life.