Thursday, January 28, 2016
Today we'll cover pre-requisites.
As plainly as I can state it: if you haven't taken, or will shortly at your soonest opportunity, at the barest minimum, the Red Cross Basic First Aid, CPR, and AED class, offered at 500 Red Cross chapters about every week from coast to coast - and even online in some cases - which is usually one stupid-easy Saturday or a couple of 4-hour weeknights for about $70-$100, giving you the barest basics on first aid, do not f**king bother me further. Go sit in Slobovia until you get serious.
You're an irredeemable poser until you cross that hurdle, which is about as hard as stepping over a toothpick.
While that's the barest minimum ante to play this game, what you should do is go beyond that.
Take at least the Wilderness and Remote First Aid class, and CPR For The Professional Rescuer.
The latter can also be obtained from the American Heart Association.
Sixteen hours for the first class, and one all-day for the second one.
And ideally, you should aim to find and take whatever your state's basic EMT class is, which is approximately 110 hours of field medical training (plus lab), and usually includes or requires CPR:Pro Rescuer.
I don't care if you take the local state test, or ever work in the field, you should have this class, and be able to demonstrate this level of knowledge and basic care. Period. If I were Emperor for a day, it would be impossible to graduate high school in this country or even get your GED without it, unless you were certified to have an IQ two standard deviations below the mean, went to the zoo a lot on the short bus, and could tell us what the windows on that bus tasted like. Everyone else, do the class, if you haven't already done so. (And if it was 20 years ago, and you don't keep up, get the text below, and bone up!)
Look for it from local community colleges, or extension training for same. It may also be offered privately. Ask around, and get the best course for the least money: they all have to meet basic federal minimum standards and guidelines.
Realistically, with a job and kids, it may be hard to knock out. Do it anyways.
I know active-duty military members who manage, despite multiple frequent deployments. So if they can do it, you can. Assuming you're serious.
If you can knock out paramedic school, nursing school, PA or medical school, or already have, well hot damn. Those are, as a rule, intended for people who plan to actually work in the biz, for money, for some period of time, but there's nothing wrong with the knowledge. I don't expect anyone would undertake them just for preparedness sake.
But I will tell you that starting out with something as basic as an advanced first aid or basic EMT class can lead to an unexpected career change. Ask me how I know.
And if you already had basic first aid in the military, or Boy Scouts, or whatever, or add things like wilderness EMT, ski patroller, lifeguard, dive medic, ad infinitum, good on you. All this stuff piles on, and there's no such thing as knowing too much. And there's no limit how far you can take this. But remember, for most of you, probably 99%, you just want to get as prepared in this area as you can be soon, not become a board-certified cardiac surgeon or emergency physician. EMT is where you want to start.
And for those of you who'll do the minimum to get by, and honestly really and truly can't afford the time, money, etc. to get more learning anytime soon the old-fashioned way, in a class, the acme text for any basic first responder who's aspiring to one day learn more is this one:
Emergency Care & Transportation Of the Sick and Injured, 10th Ed., Amer. Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
AKA "The Orange Book" unsurprisingly, because it's orange, and even more unsurprisingly, tells you everything you need to know about emergency care and transportation of the sick and injured, and has been the standard best reference in the field for 40 years.
Get the student workbook too.
Brand spanking new for both, about $200. Used, significantly less. Caveat emptor.
Get a hard copy, not just the e-book (because books require only light, not power) and expect to refer to it again and again.
We'll talk about textbooks for your library later on (don't get ahead here), but that's enough for now.
Getting to know the Orange Book inside and out will take you anywhere from a couple of weeks, if you read like I do, to several months, once you add on practical hands-on applications, and you could do nothing further in life for the rest of your life but apply it, and do very well for more than 50% of all medical emergencies.
And as an added bonus, probably never get hopelessly caught stupid in an emergency.