Medical emergencies can happen to anyone, anywhere and at any time. It can be a frightening experience but there are ways to prepare for an unexpected crisis.
Learning the basics of first aid readies individuals for many emergencies. These classes teach quick-thinking skills that could help save a life, and better handle an emergency.
“First aid is a life skill and, as such, you never know when you are going to need to use it,” says Peter Hughes, First Aid and Aquatics Program Manager with the Cayman Islands Red Cross. “We recommend that everyone over the age of 15 has a basic level of first aid training.”
The Red Cross offers regular training in first aid, including CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) and AED (automated external defibrillator), a portable electronic device that can assist in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest.
The course equips individuals with the knowledge and skills to recognize and respond to emergencies, enabling quick action that can drastically reduce the impact of health-related events.
“It is training that can be particularly helpful in the event of any disaster, whether it be man-made or natural, when professional medical care may not be available within a reasonable time frame,” says Hughes.
“First aid knowledge and experience gives you flexibility when dealing with minor injury or illness,” he says. “An example would be heat exhaustion – recognizing the signs and managing the condition with a simple first aid kit and first aid knowledge, may prevent the need for a trip to the hospital or your local healthcare provider. Being self-sufficient can be a benefit in situations like this.”
The course covers basic first aid, such as dealing with burns, cuts, broken bones, bleeding, sudden illnesses, breathing difficulties and cardiac emergency. CPR can be a real life-saver when faced with a cardiac arrest victim as it significantly increases the chances of survival by maintaining the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the brain and other vital organs. “For every minute we delay care, the victim’s chance of survival reduces by 10 percent,” says Hughes.
Community and workplace training is available. Many businesses have members of staff complete a first aid training course in preparation for the hurricane season and other emergencies.
The six-hour course is delivered Tuesday and Wednesday evenings (three hours per evening) and on alternate Saturdays (six hours). The fee is $125 for a two-year certification.
Around 1,000 people take first-aid training each year in Cayman. The Red Cross also provides first aid volunteers at more than 60 sporting and community events each year.
The Red Cross also offers training in both Basic Water Rescue and Lifeguarding (for the professional responder).
The water rescue course highlights the risks and dangers of water-based activities, and how to recognize a swimmer in distress as well as signs of drowning.
“It shows how to affect a rescue without putting yourself at risk,” says Hughes.
There are no pre-requisites, and non-swimmers can also participate. Training is arranged upon demand.
Hughes also teaches lifeguarding, a professional responders course that provides knowledge and skills to prevent, recognize and respond to aquatic emergencies.
The Red Cross runs first aid and Aquatics courses throughout the year. Contact the Cayman Islands Red Cross on 949-6785 or email [email protected] for more information. The Red Cross also has first aid kits, CPR pouches and backpacks for sale.