Course administrator Braelyn Hofland is on the third session of the First Aid & CPR course aimed for ages nine to 13, and the interest in the course has been encouraging to see.
Organized through the Red Cross, the new course tailored for kids covers all of the important topics regarding first aid: how to identify if someone needs help and whether it is safe to get involved, and what to do in the event of a medical emergency.
Hofland, an advanced care paramedic with Moose Jaw Emergency Medical Services, and Blasia Cain, a primary care paramedic with Moose Jaw EMS, spoke to a group of 10 participants on Aug. 22, testing their knowledge of first response tactics.
Topics for the morning included what’s in a first aid kit and how to use it, what to do if someone is in need of help, and what to tell 911 dispatchers when you call with an emergency.
Hofland and Cain also emphasized the importance of keeping yourself safe when helping with an emergency, from wearing gloves to identifying hazards in a situation that could be harmful.
The afternoon focused on recognizing signs of heart attack and stroke, administering CPR and how to handle choking, with some hands-on training for the group. Pairs of participants practised administering CPR and how to use an AED, before touring through an ambulance to wrap things up.
Hofland has seen interest increase since the first course offered earlier this year, and she feels this knowledge can only be beneficial, even at this age.
“I think it is really important for them to be prepared for anything that could happen, any accidents, injuries,” said Hofland. “If they're home alone with their siblings they should know what to do, and having this course will help them be able to manage that a little bit better, and prepare them for that (situation).”
Both adults and children should always know what to do in a medical emergency, said Hofland, and she is seeing that this particular age group can be effective at administering CPR despite their smaller stature.
“We actually have a mannequin that shows how efficient they're doing their chest compressions, and with this age group, they're actually able to circulate the blood with the chest compressions,” said Hofland.
The Moose Jaw EMS is planning to continue offering the course every few months, to continue educating the next generation of first responders. Parents are encouraged to keep an eye out for more dates to be announced, and to consider enrolling their kids.
“Getting everyone trained in first aid and CPR is always beneficial,” said Hofland. “Don't be scared of putting your kids in the course and giving them that experience they need to help prepare for those situations.”