Monday, June 7, 2010

Happy Birthday CPR

This week is the anniversary of the CPR method, so The Red Cross is doing all sorts of training events to help people become more aware and to be equipped to even just do chest compressions should an emergency happen. Hearing about this made me thankful for the training we are able to provide our volunteers. A man in our church is a certified trainer in CPR, AED, and First Aid. He provides multiple trainings each year at no cost to any of our Children's, Youth, or Safety and Security volunteers and staff. I'd say at least 90% of our elementary volunteers are certified, and several of our early childhood volunteers are as well.

While we haven't needed to use CPR or an AED in the six years that I've been on staff, an incident in our Saturday evening elementary class made me thankful for the repeated First Aid training our volunteers have received. During activity station time, a few girls were doing ballerina twirls in an open area of the room. What they were doing wasn't rowdy or rambunctious. But one of the girls tripped on her own feet mid twirl, fell, and naturally put her arms out to catch herself. She happened to land just right and broke her arm. The girl was amazingly calm. She looked up at her leader and said, "I think I broke my arm." It was evident in the awkward bend in her forearm that the bone was broken. Our leaders didn't panic. One went for help from a staff member, another kept kids away from the injured girl, while the third leader kept the rest of the group distracted and having [safe] fun. I should note that most of the kids in the room (including the girl's brother) weren't even aware anything happened.

The leader who went for help immediately got the first aid kit out when the staff member joined her, and was able to help fashion a sling and a brace for the broken arm. The girl's parents were surprised by how calm everyone was. I really think the calmness of the leaders helped the girl not react as badly as she could have.

While you would hope that any situation would be handled this well, what makes it even more impressive to me is the age of our leaders--we only had one adult in the room when it happened, and she's only 18 years old. The other two leaders were 17 and 14. They all responded with maturity, and I know the regular training they've all undergone was a huge contributor to that fact.

I think it essential that churches have CPR and first aid trained leaders throughout their ministry programs. And not just leaders who have had one time training, but regular training. My elementary pastor keeps an updated list of which of his volunteers are trained and when their certification expires. This list helps him not only know who to call on in case of emergency, but also who he should emphasize upcoming trainings to.

What are you doing to ensure that your volunteers are prepared should a medical emergency occur?

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