On Tuesday, August 3oth, the Board Certified Music Therapists at RMTS were First Aid Certified by an instructor of the American Heart Association. We were taught safe practices in CPR, proper use of a AED (automated external defibrillator), the Heimlich Maneuver, and how to deal with bleeding and wounds, shock, burns, poisoning, seizures, and various injuries. Throughout the course of our four hour training, we had our share of fear, anxiety, and disgust in our discussions of medical emergencies as well as a lot of laughs.
Our instructor, Rose, began our training talking about CPR. Recently, several changes have been made to the American Heart Association’s methods of dealing with crisis situations of a person in cardiac arrest. Instead of the typical mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, new policies state that it is more beneficial if CPR is used immediately until help arrives. Statistics show that mouth-to-mouth is not as effective as the constant, frequent pushes to the heart delivered by CPR. In addition, the American Heart Association recommends only taking the pulse once, if at all. During a crisis situation, a person may be flustered and anxious and could mistake their pulse for that of the victim’s. Too much time is wasted searching for a spot to take the pulse and the effort to feel it when the focus should be on immediate CPR. If the person is indeed alive and pulsating, they will be sure to let you know.
After the discussion, Rose brought out adult and child manikins for us to practice our new knowledge. We each got a turn– falling to our knees, tapping the “person” inquiring if they were alright, pretending to call 9-1-1, and then beginning to administer CPR. For one minute, each of us gave our victims 100 thrusts, 2 inches deep. It is surprising how long that minute drags on, and how sore your hands and arms become after only thirty seconds. With the rapid beat of the pushes (at the same tempo as the song “Stayin’ Alive”– a funny little pun that Rose introduced us to), one tires quickly. In the case of a real emergency, the CPR must be kept up at this steady beat until medical assistance arrives.
The next step in our program was to learn how to properly use a defibrillator. Never having attended a First Aid course before, I was unsure and intimidated by the AED. Though having seen them in various locations throughout the city (gyms, schools, etc.), I had no idea how to use one, or if I was even certified to. Many people ponder this very same question, and the answer is this: AED’s are not restricted to medical personal. If you are at a scene where a person goes into cardiac arrest, you have the right (and the obligation) to use a nearby defibrillator. Actual usage is simple enough– turn on the AED, place the two pads on the person’s chest and stomach, right over left (diagrams are shown on the pads themselves), plug in the cord, and the AED will talk you through the rest. Our team divided into groups of three and practiced on the manikins– an activity that was both anxiety provoking yet comical at the same time.
For the next two hours, we discussed other possible emergencies and how to deal with them. Having a First Aid kit on hand at all times is very important, we learned. Rose also taught us that in most situations, calling 9-1-1 is the first action one should take. This should be instinctive for most adults; however, sometimes in a state of emergency and panic, it is easy to forget. We went over packets on First Aid essentials and practiced the Heimlich Maneuver (to be used in case of choking) for the reminder of the class period.
After a long morning, we were all finally First Aid certified. Now we are prepared to deal with any sort of emergency that may rise during our work on and off site. Your kids will be safe with us!
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Roman Music Therapy Services423 Main St.
Melrose, MA 02176