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Why is better equipment essential to retention?

With my business, Life Start Training, when we were planning out how the first aid classes would look, it was a priority that we ensured there were no power points and no slide shows. We prefer to demonstrate and show what we’re doing and explain the why.  We will brief the participants and allow them to ask questions before they get to practice the skill. Since I started my business, participants have told me that they learn far better by touching, seeing and doing.  The equipment Life Start uses (Mannikins, AEDS, moulage kits, chocking vests) and the equipment ratios combined with all the other standard practice for Life Start promotes better retention and confidence. Those old blue foam actors used for CPR do not represent the pressure needed to perform CPR properly; you can take two fingers and compress an adult chest without much difficulty on those older pieces of equipment. 


One of the contributing factors to the low rates of bystander intervention is quality equipment. Most participants have no idea that they actually have to push 2 inches when performing CPR. Most have no idea that they will most likely end up breaking ribs. Most have no idea that when you’re compressing on the chest, you’re flattening the heart to force the blood of the main veins and arteries. This could be a lack of education, awareness, or explanation from an instructor during a first aid class. Still, we need to give participants better equipment for them to understand proper implementation fully.   


Roughly 65% of participants who show up to my class tell me, “I’ve never seen an AED used in a class before.” What??   ‘Industry standards’ dictate that every single participant in a class should have the ability to go and apply AED pads to a manikin. At best, an instructor may show the class how to put the AED pads on a manikin; however, the majority of participants that attend my class have never had the opportunity to try it themselves. With many AED programs implemented in public areas across Canada, it is vital that people understand and also know how they work and why they work.   


The use of quality equipment enables the participants a realistic practice allowing them to make mistakes in a classroom setting is vital. You need to be able to feel the resistance within a chest when you’re pushing. If you are a visual learner, you need to know that when you were compressing on the chest, you can see the blood flow to the brain if you’re doing it correctly. If you were an auditory learner, you need to hear the AED telling you to push harder.  


In a stakeholder workshop report on a proposal for a national standard on workplace first aid competencies in training, it was stated that there is a need to have better recommendations and better equipment information regarding first aid training.  


Do you agree? Do you think Canada should have a national industry standard? After all, we are talking about saving more lives!



Sources: https://cpr.heart.org/-/media/cpr-files/cpr-guidelines-files/highlights/hghlghts_2020_ecc_guidelines_english.pdf