First Aid and Personal Safety
We tend to focus on personal
safety as simply recognizing, acting upon and reacting to threatening situations. And those ARE the primary forces involved.
But we have to recognize that the "big picture" is about saving lives and reducing the damage when emergencies
occur. First aid and other forms of assistance are well within the reach of most people.
The typical course is taught by the American Red Cross, and lasts about 7 hours. You
learn, and are certified to administer first aid (cuts, bruises, bone and muscle injuries, shock, bleeding and other first
aid emergencies), how to administer CPR and most also include AED (automated external defibulator) training for heart attack
This training was designed to fill
the gap between the 7 hours of a CPR course, and the 180 hours needed to become an EMT.
can serve as secondary providers with some volunteer EMS services. A certified first responder can be seen either as an
advanced first aid provider, or as a limited provider of emergency medical care when more advanced providers are not yet
on scene or available. The training takes in the neighborhood of 50 to 70 hours.
Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
Emergency Medical Technicians are certified according to their
level of training. Individual states set their own standards of certification (or licensure, in some cases) and all
EMT training must meet the minimum requirements as set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA)
standards for curriculum.
The procedures and skills allowed at this level are generally non-invasive such
as bleeding control, positive pressure ventilation with a bag valve mask, oropharyngeal airway, nasopharyngeal airway, supplemental
oxygen administration, and splinting. The training generally takes approximately 180 hours and the demonstration of
a wide variety of practical, basic life-saving skills. An EMT certification can generally be completed in one semester
at a junior college.
Paramedics are advanced medical
professionals that are certified to perform a wide variety of life saving functions, including the administration of a large
variety of drugs. They deliver the highest level of advanced life support available outside of a hospital.
They are trained to keep critical patients alive by assessing illnesses and injuries and by providing life-sustaining
treatment on the scene and during transport to a hospital emergency department. Most paramedic programs take approximately
2 years to complete and include a minimum of 480 hours of practical medical internships.
At a very minimum,
a first aid course, and even the First Responder certification are well within the time constraints of most individuals. In
a critical situation, having those life saving skills could come in very handy indeed.
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Bison Risk Management Associates is a Northern California-based company providing Personal Safety and Emergency Preparedness training, workshops and consulting
for individuals, businesses and organizations.