Re: First Aid Req. (CPR in 1st Class)
Amick Robert (amick@SPOT.COLORADO.EDU)
Sun, 2 Nov 1997 12:22:46 -0700
I would echo Bruce Cobern's sage advice. Having taught CPR and Emergency
Response to Scouts for many years as a Red Cross instructor and EMT, I can
attest to the fact that a capricious and arbitrary "age" limit for
training makes no sense at all. There are 16 year olds who may be less
capable physically than some 11 year olds and vice versa.
More important, is that the more pervasive the lifesaving knowledge about
CPR is the greater the chance that a life may be saved. As a nation, we
are woefully undertrained and underprepared for medical emergencies and
natural hazards. Scouting is one of the few organizations which heavily
emphasizes these essential survival skills and knowledge bases. Although
first aid merit badge is the "most earned" merit badge, there are many
more Scouts who earn First Class and may never take the merit badge or may
not earn it until much later in their Scouting career for whatever reason.
Even if a small Scout cannot physically perform CPR on a large person, he
knows to get the EMS system activated, and may have the presence of mind
to enlist the aid of a stronger person to help do chest compressions. CPR
is not "rocket science," and a simple, "on the fly" lesson can be
sufficient to train an otherwise untrained individual in providing chest
compressions adequately and correctly until EMS can arrive. The
alternative, failing to provide CPR in the critical "four to six minutes"
following a cardiac arrest, is simply irreversable brain damage due to
lack of perfusion. This is why most victims cannot be resuscitated even
with the most highly trained paramedics and sophisticated advanced life
support equipment and medications.
It is significant that the average time between the occurrence of a sudden
cardiac arrest and someone calling 9-1-1 for EMS (Emergency Medical
Services) assistance is over 2.5 minutes; and even the fastest EMS
response time may be an additional 3-5 minutes, so a victim is already in
grave danger unless CPR has already been immediately initiated.
Some years ago there was a documented "save" of a lightning strike victim
by a teenager who had seen CPR performed on a television show (correctly
for a change), on "Rescue 9-1-1"; and subseequently while riding his bike,
the teenager came upon the strike victim who was pulseless and not
breathing. His efforts, although rudimentary, were directly credited by
the paramedics on the scene with saving the victim's life. Certainly this
is not the preferred method for CPR training, but sometimes the smallest
exposure to the topic can be successful.
The bottom line is that heart disease alone, accounts for over 1 million
U.S. citizen deaths each year, and many of these are due to sudden cardiac
arrest; which if promptly treated with CPR and immediate follow-up
advanced life support (ALS) provided by EMS agencies, can greatly increase
survivability of the patient.
The more Scouts and Scouters know about these skills, the more likely they
are to effect a successful rescue and save the life of a loved one or a
total stranger. You cannot get too much training in emergency medical
skills, and the more each Scout is exposed to such training, the better
off we all are, both now and in the future.
One of our Explorers just received a BSA heroism medal for applying his
first responder skills in saving the life of a victim in a serious car
accident, and his skills were first learned in Scouting. Several others
have already made career decisions to enter medicine and become physicians
on the basis of emergency medical training learned in Scouting, so there
are both present and future benefits for us all.
Bob Amick, EMT-B, Explorer Advisor, High Adventure Explorer Post 72,
Boulder, CO; Longs Peak Council Exploring Training Chair
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City