Have you ever been running in a race, only to have your thoughts interrupted by the laboured breathing of a competitor who sounded as if they were on their last legs? Would you know what to do if they collapsed? If a triathlete had a panic attack during the swim, would you know how to help? If you were out for a group ride, and someone crashed, would you be able to handle the situation? What would you do if your running partner became faint, dizzy, or incoherent?
Every triathlete and runner should take a first aid course to learn how to prevent emergencies from happening, and to learn how to deal with them when they do. Your life or that of your friends or family may depend on it! Today I spent the day taking a Canadian Red Cross Standard First Aid recertification course.
If you’ve never taken a first aid course before, or it’s been a long time, consider taking the 2-day Standard First Aid course, which covers the following important topics:
- Preparing to respond (e.g. recognizing an emergency and deciding to act)
- The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system
- Check, Call, Care (e.g. making sure the scene is safe)
- Airway emergencies (e.g. choking)
- Breathing and circulation emergencies (e.g. anaphylactic reaction to a bee sting)
- First aid for respiratory and cardiac arrest
- Wound care (e.g. road rash)
- Head and spine injuries (e.g. bike crash)
- Bone, muscle and joint injuries (e.g. broken limb)
- Sudden medical emergencies (e.g. diabetic emergency)
- Environmental emergencies (e.g. heatstroke or hypothermia, realities in some race scenarios)
- What to put in a first aid kit
The course is hands on, so that you can practice some of the skills you learn on your classmates, and others on mannequins.
Once you pass the written test, you will be certified for 3 years. Take the recertification course before the 3 years is up and get recertified, like I did today.
But don’t races have medical staff? Yes, they do, but they can’t be everywhere on the course all the time. You may be the first person on scene able to help!
Check out the Red Cross First Aid App! It’s not a substitute for taking a first aid course, but it’s got lots of helpful information in it!
Not a triathlete or runner? You should still take a course! Think of the family, friends, and random strangers you might need to help one day. You won’t regret it.