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How did you learn First Aid and how much did you learn?

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How did you learn First Aid and how much did you learn?

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Old 08-06-12, 08:58 PM
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CMoss
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How did you learn First Aid and how much did you learn?

As I prepare for my cross country trip I'm starting to look into first aid classes.

I was wondering how people learned their first aid and how in depth did they go? Any suggestions of places to look or what to make sure the class/person covers?
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Old 08-06-12, 09:17 PM
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Myosmith
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If you have the time (40 hours) a NREMT First Responders course is well worth the time. If not, there are courses by the American Red Cross and American Heart Association that take just an evening or two and will get you through the basics. There are numerous others out there as well of varying quality. Try to find one through a local college or university, emergency medical service (ambulance or fire department), or hospital. Make sure you find one by an instructor with proper credentials as there are a lot of fly by night courses offering questionable information.

You can also get first aid and first responder books online that meet the DOT and National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) guidelines. Mosby, Brady, and AAOS are well respected publishers of emergency medical texts. Be careful about books written by individuals who are not backed by a recognized emergency medical organization. Same goes for websites. Unfortunately there is a lot of outdated and just plain wrong information out there.
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Old 08-06-12, 09:53 PM
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Learning basic first aid is important. I was an EMT-Intermediate, working as volunteer on our town's ambulance for 15 years. My wife and I have also been ski patrollers for over 20 years which requires Outdoor Emergency Care certification (about equivalent to an EMT- Basic).

My point is, even with all the right kind of training, being prepared with the proper first aid kit is necessary.

Last Thursday my wife and I were doing a 17 mile pre-diner ride on one of our favorite loops. We were on our light road bikes and were challenging each other at every chance. We were cruising along at a little under 18 mph when I hit the back wheel of my wife's bike. We know who goes down when that happens I went down. flipping into a rock strewn ditch with the bike landing on top of me. When I did a quick inventory I found major lacerations to my forearm and knee. Both were packed with dirt and organic matter, and bleeding profusely. (the ER doctor said he thought he pulled a flower a flower from the forearm wound) I had road rash from my calf to my jaw. My ear was also packed with sand and gravel, and I was a little shook up. We were not prepared- it was just a little fun spin around the lake!

Here is my point---Even with all the training we have had we did not have anything with us to stop the bleeding (I have used a sanitary napkin in the past for that purpose), we did not even have a cell phone. Well, that is what jerseys are for. Luckily, my bike was good enough to ride the last 5 miles home. Fortunately, the bleeding was not severe, just messy (blood is like spilled oil--a little looks like a lot). However, it did hurt like hell!

After 3.5 hours in the emergency room with about 1.5 hours of that just cleaning the wounds, I finally left with 14 stitches in my forearm, 7 in my knee (latest count- I thought there were 24 total, but can't find that many) Even with the excellent care I received, the forearm wound still became infected.

Hopefully, this experience would have been different for us if we had been on tour. I carry a well stocked first aid kit that would have had the equipment to cleanse and protect the wound. We also each carry one water bottle with just plain water in it. This is for emergencies, cooking and of course drinking if needed. In the scenario above both of our bottles had Power Aid, which is not good for cleaning wounds. On tours there have been times when we would have been days from care and were often out of cell phone coverage (Not much of an issue now). Good training and an adequate first aid kit or the ability to improvise could become very important in an emergency.

One of the most practical first aid courses that I have taken is the NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) Wilderness First Aid course.

Bottom line-- Take a basic first aid course, and carry an adequate first aid kit.

PS. Always wear a helmet--they work!

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Old 08-06-12, 10:27 PM
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Knowing to use a band aid count? Or call 911.
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Old 08-07-12, 10:28 AM
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I've had my first aid certification, on and off, since about 1990. I tend to let it lapse for a couple years and then renew again.

I have acquired it from Red Cross, St Johns Ambulance, and most recently through another organisation in Australia whose name I don't recall off hand. I finished that most recent certification (Australian) about 3 months ago. If you inquire about the courses offered through Red Cross or St Johns Ambulance, you'll get good courses.

I have the highest level of certification ... always have had ... including first aid for childcare workers, CPR, etc.


So far (knock on wood and all that), I've only ever used my first aid information on myself. I tend to be a bit of a klutz.
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Old 08-07-12, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by CMoss View Post
As I prepare for my cross country trip I'm starting to look into first aid classes.

I was wondering how people learned their first aid and how in depth did they go? Any suggestions of places to look or what to make sure the class/person covers?
There are several definition of first aid and is also country dependent as well. What confuses some people is that, while they may have believed the highest first aid qualifies them to work in different industries. That's not necessarily true, as industrial first aid can differ slightly between countries as well!! Also, no matter how high level you are as a first aider, you are NOT QUALIFIED to act as a doctor or a paramedic. Some first aid attendants with OFA Level 3 certification were at times acting as doctors administering incorrect treatments beyond their training parameters leading to further injuries to patients, so all training will emphasize that you are only to act as a front line medical care person irregardless of your level designation. This is a requirement in Canada, so not sure what US system is like.

First aid companies also offer very basic certification, but with CPR and AED training as the main basic foundation of the training, how often are you able to do this to yourself?

What you should be looking for is an EFA (Emergency First Aid) and that will teach basic first aid and dealing with shock. Red Cross and St Johns offer this. As a cyclist, road rash is quite common followed by trauma to the head and so forth and how you should be dealing with in the event as you are going into shock. If you are in a serious fall, basic first aid isn't going to help you much on how to properly set your bones nor can you do any surgery to yourself. Part of the first aid course is to administer aid to a patient, so really the only use you're going to get used out of this is injury on road rashes and going into shock treatment. Have your phone handy and call 911 right away, because that's the job of the paramedics and doctors to help you further if you are seriously hurt and ensures your spine is not severed.

Btw, OFA stands for Occupational First Aid and usually if you work for a company, you can always ask your company to pay for an OFA Level 1 training. This usually designates you as the company's first aider. The top OFA is level 3 and that usually consummates the number of employees that are in your work place plus the use and operation of the oxygen tank which requires a higher certification than level 1.

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Old 08-07-12, 01:53 PM
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As much as I hate to say this....... unless your a real doctor or nurse,I would think twice these days about giving first aid,because if your going to give it to somebody else,you should get a good lawyer as a friend also. If you give first aid to somebody and things go wrong,life as you know it could be gone.

Sad but true in our time.....no such thing as an accident.,even if your trying to save their life....ask any lawyer.

I'm scared to death to try and help somebody else.If their life is in imminent danger(drowning or fire) no problem,if you fell off you bike and have head injuries/broken something,I'll comfort you and hold your hand,maybe try and stop the bleeding,but your just going to have to wait until the proper people show up.I'm not even sure if I would give CPR,I'm sure I'm doing wrong in some lawyers eyes.

If we are in the middle of nowhere and help is a long ways away,I'll do what I can to help,I'm not that mean I'm just going to watch you bleed/die.But if your in the city,with people around,your going to have to wait....sorry.

Sad times when a good citizen has to think twice about helping a fellow human in distress.

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Old 08-07-12, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Booger1 View Post
You planning on giving first aid to yourself? Because if your going to give it to somebody else,you should get a good lawyer as a friend also. If you give first aid to somebody and things go wrong,life as you know it will be gone.

Sad but true.....
In the states maybe but that's highly unlikely, but in Canada our law protects first aider against this kind of things known as the good Samaritan act.

Most lawsuits stem from first aiders performing beyond their training qualifications like acting as doctors or paramedics which they are not qualified to do and getting themselves in trouble. But for the most part, you are not liable for the inability to save a person no matter how good your CPR is or using the AED machine, because that's the method for keeping some patients stable before professionals come, assuming you got someone to call 911. If the paramedics got stuck in traffic and got in late and the person died, that's not the fault of the first aid attendant.
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Old 08-07-12, 02:14 PM
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First Aid training has changed a lot since I first got it in 1990. Back then, we were practically doing minor surgery, setting bones, and all sorts of things. It was terrifying!

When I upgraded my training in about 2007, in Canada, I noticed the changes. Gone were the days of minor surgery etc. ... and in were the days of calling whatever your local emergency number and letting the professionals handle the situation. We were given training in CPR, of course, and some basic training in some other aspects of First Aid ... but we were definitely NOT meant to be doctors or paramedics.

When I upgraded my training about 3 months ago in Australia, there were even more changes. First of all CPR is all about chest compressions now, and only if the heart has stopped. No more breathing! (thank goodness) Secondly, when it comes to most other injuries, the line we were given was simply, call the emergency number (in Australia it is 000), assist the person to sit, lie, walk, etc as comfortably as possible (but don't force the person to hold their arm in a particular way, or split a leg or any of that stuff), and reassure the person that help is on the way. That's it. That's all the highest level of First Aid qualification is allowed to do. There are a few exceptions, like if a person was bleeding heavily you might want to try to stop the flow of blood.

No more spoons in the mouth if a person is having an epileptic fit, no more drilling holes in a persons trachea and inserting pen casings if they are having trouble breathing, no more fancy sling folding techniques, no more splints, etc. etc.

I do recommend taking a class. Especially if the last time you did any sort of First Aid class was some time ago ... it's a whole new world.


Oh, and another note ...

A couple people here have mentioned the emergency number 911. That's the emergency number in Canada and the US. It is not the emergency number in other countries. In Australia it is 000. In parts of Europe it is (if I am not mistaken) 112.

Since this is an international forum, and we don't know the nationality of the original poster, his/her emergency number could be something entirely different. And if you travel to other countries it may be a good idea to familiarise yourself with the emergency number.
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Old 08-07-12, 03:46 PM
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I learned first aid when I was in the US Army. I'm not certified but I can keep you alive until you get to a hospital or until a medic arrives.
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Old 08-07-12, 06:40 PM
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Oregon also has a " Good Samaritan" law. As long a you are within your scope of practice (training certification) or Standing Orders (for EMT's) you are covered. I would not hesitate to use every skill that I could legally apply to help keep someone alive. I participate in annual refresher and skill testing, am confident in my skills, and not squeamish. However, even EMT's do not walk (cycle) around with drugs, IV kits and other sophisticated equipment. It usually boils down to basic first responder skills, the ABC's, and getting more advanced help on the way.

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Old 08-07-12, 08:21 PM
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I learned most and have been Red Cross certified through Scouting. Our are Red Cross also has a certification course for Wilderness First Aid which would be something to look into. It's a step farther into regular techniques and includes some more advanced information about stabilizing and evacuating a victim along with other information that can be useful on the road.

Marc
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Old 08-07-12, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
First Aid training has changed a lot since I first got it in 1990. Back then, we were practically doing minor surgery, setting bones, and all sorts of things. It was terrifying!

When I upgraded my training in about 2007, in Canada, I noticed the changes. Gone were the days of minor surgery etc. ... and in were the days of calling whatever your local emergency number and letting the professionals handle the situation. We were given training in CPR, of course, and some basic training in some other aspects of First Aid ... but we were definitely NOT meant to be doctors or paramedics.

When I upgraded my training about 3 months ago in Australia, there were even more changes. First of all CPR is all about chest compressions now, and only if the heart has stopped. No more breathing! (thank goodness) Secondly, when it comes to most other injuries, the line we were given was simply, call the emergency number (in Australia it is 000), assist the person to sit, lie, walk, etc as comfortably as possible (but don't force the person to hold their arm in a particular way, or split a leg or any of that stuff), and reassure the person that help is on the way. That's it. That's all the highest level of First Aid qualification is allowed to do. There are a few exceptions, like if a person was bleeding heavily you might want to try to stop the flow of blood.

No more spoons in the mouth if a person is having an epileptic fit, no more drilling holes in a persons trachea and inserting pen casings if they are having trouble breathing, no more fancy sling folding techniques, no more splints, etc. etc.

I do recommend taking a class. Especially if the last time you did any sort of First Aid class was some time ago ... it's a whole new world.


Oh, and another note ...

A couple people here have mentioned the emergency number 911. That's the emergency number in Canada and the US. It is not the emergency number in other countries. In Australia it is 000. In parts of Europe it is (if I am not mistaken) 112.

Since this is an international forum, and we don't know the nationality of the original poster, his/her emergency number could be something entirely different. And if you travel to other countries it may be a good idea to familiarise yourself with the emergency number.
I work in the fitness industry part time, so I always get the opportunity to retrain every year, plus my full time employer's requirement for me to keep updated OFA certification means I get to see what changes happens in differing aspects of first aid applications. CPR and AED, especially AED is big this year. Never seen so much examples and practise I had to do with an AED and the dummy. Chest compression is another thing, but wow was that a lot of work -- definitely need a tag team approach to keep someone from dying of cardiac arrest and the zapping with an AED (fun fun!). I mean, they need us to do compression with such a huge force that I fear I'm gonna break the little old lady's rib cage!

I personally can do more first aid than needed and had a few times treated soft tissue injuries and sprains with good results, but I only do this to close friends and relatives. I think our instructor emphasizes that due to issues of legality and safety, it's better that you do the bare minimum to sustain life while help is on the way.

I think the OP would benefit from basic first aid which can be completed in a day. Not need to take any more advance levels, because once you go into shock after you crash from your bike, there's really nothing you can do about it other than call the emergency line and cry for help.
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Old 08-08-12, 07:11 AM
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I've been holding one the low level First Aid courses for about the past ten years or so. Work requirement in industrial construction in remote sites. I can honestly say that its a wonderful course to take (the first time). I've had to use it a few times being the first person on scene in car crashes.

I keep hearing about some of the wilderness FA courses, I would love to take one some day. They can be difficult to get into locally (+500 km radius) though.....
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Old 08-08-12, 11:33 AM
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Good samaritan laws are great.........up to the point you have to hire a lawyer for 1000's of dollars to defend yourself in court......
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