Okay, so I am that person. The one who really can’t handle the gross stuff, the one who covers their eyes during movies until people tell me it’s okay to look again. So naturally the world of first aid is one that gets me a little nervous because it might be icky.

And then I had a moment that I realized just how important first aid is.

A friend and I were at a restaurant and a woman sitting next to us fell off her stool, she smacked the back of her head hard on the tile floor and was clearly hurt – and I had a feeling I don’t want to have in an emergency again – I don’t know what to do.  Luckily, my friend did and was able to step in until help arrived.

Learning first aid could save a lifeSo here I am, at my Red Cross first aid class. Our instructor, Matthew, is a paramedic as well as a first aid instructor. Matthew seems like a good guy to have around during an emergency. 

There are a few different types of first aid classes that the Red Cross offers, the one I’m taking today is emergency first aid, a one-day course that covers the info you need to know in emergency situations like the one I was in earlier.

There’s a lot of information, some I never really considered, like what people delivering first aid are legally allowed to do, and how to properly take off gloves that might be covered in contaminated materials. We’ve also covered what should go in a first aid kit. So far so good, off for a lunch break.

After lunch it’s time for the hands-on stuff. We learn how to put someone in recovery, which (unless injuries prevent it) is more comfortable and can keep someone from choking on vomit. Then we learn how to help choking adults, children and babies.

Hands-on training is included in the curriculumNext up it’s time to learn CPR. CPR is one of those things I’ve always been embarrassed I don’t know, so I’m pretty excited to learn. About ten practice chest compressions in on our dummy, I already feel this sense of relief – like I could really step in and help with this in a real emergency. It’s actually a really empowering feeling.

We learn about using AEDs, again this made me feel so much more confident. AEDs (difibulators) are in a lot of public areas, and really can save lives – and once you know how, they are really not very hard to use!

And then – the moment I have been dreading/preparing for is here – wound care. I’m not going to lie, there’s some stuff there that was pretty gross to me, but the thing is just because I’m grossed out by it
Anyone can make it through first aid training
doesn’t mean I’m never going to be in a situation where there is gross stuff.

Plus, now I know what to do. And, probably because I was so worried about this part, it really wasn’t as bad as I was expecting.

To sum it up, if I can make it through first aid, pretty much anyone can. I left my class feeling really great, because now I know the next time there is an emergency I will be able to step in and help. 

Find a first aid course near you!