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A lesson from Haiti and Katrina

If Katrina wasn’t proof enough, then this past weeks disaster in Haiti should finally drive the point home that sometimes everything goes wrong. Sometimes your cell phone is in a dead zone or your car breaks down on a lonely back road. And sometimes your whole neighborhood is washed away or flattened by an earthquake. Please don’t think for one second I am comparing national tragedies to everyday inconveniences but I am trying to make the point that sometimes you are your only help. What if all the important safety nets we all rely on everyday were gone in the blink of an eye? Could you protect yourself? Could you help your family or your neighbors if they were injured or sick? Even if all our emergency services work as planned there are still many times when some basic first-aid and CPR training could prove incredibly useful. A minimum of First-aid and CPR training would provide you with the skills and knowledge to help your family or community if they are ever injured. Yes, we are spoiled and can call 911 or get on the internet to get the answers to our most obscure medical question but think of the everyday uses some basic medical skills and knowledge could have. Your child has a cut and you want to clean and bandage it. Simple enough, but how tight should you wrap the bandage and what ointment should you apply? How do you know if a cut needs stitches? How would you immobilize your child’s sprained ankle at the next soccer game you watch? Should you put butter on that burn? First Aid training can provide you with confidence you need to respond to everyday minor medical emergencies. Yes, we are lucky to live in an area with fabulous emergency response agencies but some level of self reliance should be expected of each of us. Let me use an example from outside medicine. Picture a toilet that is overflowing. Water (hopefully, just water) is running everywhere in your bathroom. Now, you could call a plumber and pay for an emergency visit or with a little training you could find the master water valve for the toilet and turn it off yourself. By learning the basics, like where the master water valve is, you have just saved yourself hundreds and possibly thousands of dollars. In my opinion basic First Aid and CPR training is exactly the same. A minimum amount of training can prevent untold suffering. To get more info on CPR and First Aid training classes visit the AHA or

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