Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Occupational First Aid Course

I've been working for 4 years and 4 months in this current company. All along I didn't show any interest to join the course above. In fact, I was afraid of taking this course. Last year, all our Senior Management staffs attended this course as they were our appointed leaders in our organizations. Those worked directly with our guests had also attended this training.

"The Occupational First Aid Course is designed to increase awareness of possible accidents, identify accidents with casualties and optimize health and performance at the workplace." 

My work scope is not only doing office work sitting behind the desk, but I am also in charge of more other operational works, such as: receiving goods from supplier, monthly stock-taking in bars/restaurants,and supervising general store's smooth operation. Therefore, any casualty may happen anytime anywhere within my working area that requires someone to act fast in order to render aid at any emergency situation, to prevent injuries from worsening, to maintain the First Aid box located in our office, to keep records on injuries, etc.

Previously, since I had a colleague in my office who joined the course, I thought I didn't have to join this training as he would be able to attend the emergency situation whenever required. However, he resigned and left the company two months ago. Therefore, among 4 of us, none of us was trained with First Aid and CPR. My Boss had already given me a hint that I had to attend this training last year. However, I still hadn't done anything yet.

Until about a month ago, I read "Beyond the Sky and the Earth - A Journey into Bhutan" written by Jamie Zeppa. She was writing about her experience living and teaching in Bhutan. She wrote it many years ago where there were many areas in Bhutan did not have advance access to attend the emergency situation. Well, nowadays the situation may have changed. However, since I have a plan to go there again (including visit more remote area), and I didn't have any knowledge at all about how to apply First Aid in case any emergency and no idea on how to do CPR, how to use AED device, etc, I became so determined that I wanted to attend this course before starting my journey there.

My Boss who attended the course before, told me and my colleague that the course was difficult and not enjoyable. It required participant to work in pair. We had to go for practical, oral and written exam in order to pass and become the approved/licensed First Aider. Listening to her story made me shrunk and even more scared. I really had no knowledge about it before and didn't have confidence at all that I would be able to save someone's life or help them to feel better.

My colleague, who was also interested to attend the training, she had actually wanted to go to this training together with me so that we could practice in pair. However, she couldn't make it since she had to cover another colleague's duty who went on leave during this period, which meant, I had to go to this training alone.

I was glad I found reasons and purposes to attend this training. Even though I had to attend this training alone from my company, I was determined enough that I had a purpose to learn all this. I didn't even bother to think much on what my Boss said. Just made myself believe that if many other colleagues were able to do it and passed the test, why shouldn't I? I embraced this training with positive mindset and all my fear, worry, distress, were all gone :)

First Aiders
It consists of 30 hours or 3.5 days training. I just started yesterday and today was the second day. There were 22 of us with 2 trainers who took turn teaching us. All participants were sent from many different companies in Singapore, consisting of different race, age, gender, and occupation, but all of us were having the same goals and we were all practicing hard, helping hand-in-hand to make sure we did the right thing when applying our skills. We have also shown a great teamwork in the class.

See? You didn't have to arrange a partner yourself from your own working place. In the training place, there were many others who came alone too, and you could work and practicing together with them. Anyway, in real life situation, you would help strangers, someone that you never meet before in your life.

The training is indeed very good. The trainers, although they are quite young, they are passionate about their job. They make the training sessions interesting. I never feel sleepy or get boring at all. Before starting the class, we always do stretching and before going for a break or going back home, we clap loudly and shout our group's name. It is really motivating the way the trainer builds our confidence that we can actually help others when needed.

On day 1, we learned about the responsibilities and duties of first aider. Find the reasons and solutions on why in most cases when anything happens, people tend to be by-standers rather than go and help the victim. We learned about Primary and Secondary Survey - what are the things that we have to do when something happens. How to protect ourselves from getting ourselves contaminated with blood, vomit, etc. What type of incident that we have to attend first if there are many victims around. As first-aider we have to think fast as time is precious in helping someone's lives.

After the break, we were taught on how to do CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation)  and how to use AED (Automated External Defibrillator) device. We practiced CPR using mannequins for many times until my palms pain and many of other participants' knees pain. Hehe...

There were many words that I never knew or heard before such as: VF (Ventricular Fibrillation), which means a condition in which there is uncoordinated contraction of the cardiac muscle of the ventricles in the heart, making them quiver rather than contract properly (from wikipedia), where AED is required; Asystole or flatline, which means is a state of no cardiac electrical activity, where CPR is required, etc.

In the event a person experiences from sudden cardiac arrest, the only effective way of getting survived is by doing the early defibrillation, using the AED device. It has been been found that with every minute that passes without defibrillation, survival rate reduces drastically by 7-10%. In Singapore, from so many cardiac arrest case, due to the late rescue, only 2.7% of the victims managed to survive. Therefore, if you are able to learn this skill, it will be very useful if you can practice it in real life situation.

We also learn methods of lifting the victim (such as: body support, drag method, double-craddle carry), how to do recovery position (in case if victim is unconscious but still breathing), how to handle victim suspected of having spinal injury - move using log roll method,etc.

On day 2, we learned about different type of animal bites, such as: venomous/non-venomous snake, jelly fish, bee's stung, and how to handle the situation. We learned how to handle minor and major injuries, learn how to bandage the wound, how to handle amputation, impaled objects pierced or stabbed into body parts, what to do in case of crush injury, how to cover the chest and abdominal wound, how to do scalp bandage, eye bandage, elevated sling, how to do bandage for fractures and dislocations on many different parts of the bodies (head and jaw, upper and lower arm, upper and lower legs, rib cage, hands or finger,etc.)

We learned the treatment of sprains and strains, different degrees of burn and how to treat it and bandage it, how to face situation where a person is electrocuted, different kind of occupational eye injuries and how to do the eye examination, how to bandage the eye, etc.

Below was the photo taken today during our bandage session :)

We all were having fun!!!
There were lots of videos shown on the slides. Great musics were played too while practicing. The trainers also know how to motivate us. 

There is one and half more days to finish up the training. I am really glad that I had the opportunity to learn all this knowledge and skill because we never know that one day we may need to apply this in real life situation. I am also glad that this training is provided in Singapore where government has given a subsidy too to make it more accessible for others to learn. 

This is what I feel now :)
So, if you have a chance to join this training (even better if your company is able to pay this training course for you), do not hesitate to join. It is a very great chance for you to learn and to save someone's life. That someone's life can be anyone, including our loved ones at home.

For those who are interested to learn and stay in Singapore, you can register the training here.

There is another course provided too to face with Emergency Crisis Management, called "My True Hero". It is a one-day experiential course for first responders and emergency response teams to equip themselves with practical tactics that will better manage real life crisis and emergency under extremely stressful situations. During this hands-on course, participants will undergo back-to-back activities that will give them the tools and skills to manage emergency crisis. Find the details here

So, go and find your purpose and equip yourself with the knowledge and skills, It may benefit others :)

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