Why every triathlete and runner should learn first aid

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?

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Don’t let this happen to you!

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.


Infant-specific skills.

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)
  • Poisons
  • 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.


Saving the life of one mannequin at a time.

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!

There are lots of people and organizations providing first aid training. In addition to the Canadian Red Cross courses,  St. John Ambulance also offers courses.

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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.


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One Response to Why every triathlete and runner should learn first aid

  1. Claire et Alan McIntosh says:

    Ça me sert chaque jour! Quelle bonne idée d’en prendre un autre … merci beaucoup Kyra, et Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

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