CPR Training – Is it in your skill set?

CPR Image courtesy of American Heart Association.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation – Otherwise known as CPR, is the resuscitation (To Bring Back) of the heart (Cardio) and lungs (Pulmonary).

CPR training is a vital skill that I was lacking until I recently participated in a class at a local vocational school. CPR training is some of the most basic and readily available medical training, yet I had never thought of taking a class before.  With our young daughter as the new addition to the family and a little encouragement from my wife, I signed up for an infant CPR class.

I originally intended on only doing a class covering infants, considering I am a stay at home dad of our six-month-old baby girl, and that we live about 25 minutes from the closest hospital or ambulance service. The class turned out to include much more and I am glad that it did. The instructor was a retired firefighter and he did an excellent job adding in real life examples that he experienced. During the three hour course, he covered infant, child and adult CPR,  the Heimlich maneuver, AED use (Automated External Defibrillator), along with single rescuer and multiple rescuer scenarios. The addition of the AED training was great, they are extremely easy to use and are very effective if you know how to use one. AED’s are also more readily available than you would think.

Before taking this class the only medical experience I had was limited to training videos and some self-treatment of bumps, scrapes, cuts, sprains, etc. Oh, and one nasty recovery from a Brown Recluse spider bite. That’s a whole different story, but involved cleaning and dressing a large shallow wound for about three months as it healed. My wife, however, is nearly the opposite and spent 8 years as an EMT.

Taking this class made me realize how medically unprepared I am. We have a well stocked medical cabinet at the house, even if it needs some organizing, but that will only get you so far. This class has given me a large confidence boost in this area of preparedness and has added a new tool to my skill set. I know I can’t always rely on my wife’s training, and this was a first step for me to help remedy the situation. This class has also encouraged me to seek more training and I have signed up for a three-day survival basics class that includes “Medic first aid training”. Once that class is complete I will post a write up on it as well. Going forward, I will be looking for some type of trauma or EMT basics class. I don’t plan on a career in the field, but I feel the training is critical. Too few people have the skills, and I live too far away from most of them. That’s not even mentioning the situation of a grid down or SHTF scenario where those skills become even more essential and rare.

Too many preppers, including myself, focus on the gear more than the skills. I am lucky enough that if I read an article or watch a video on something such as a bushcraft technique or a shooting drill, that I have the property to go out and practice myself. Medical training and practice are completely different. I could watch videos all day of CPR or wound packing and it would accomplish very little without the ability to practice. I doubt I can find any volunteers to let me try, so that leaves taking classes. However, I recommend watching videos to get a good feel for what is to be expected or to find areas for more training.

If you are serious into being prepared for anything I highly recommend taking all the training that you can, starting with CPR as it’s an easy way to begin your training with a life saving skill. Even for me being able to practice shooting drills and bushcraft on my own, I do plan on taking classes in the future. However, which skill set do you think would be more likely to use in your day to day life? Fighting Rifle or CPR? I’m not knocking any offensive or defensive training, but if you end up in that kind of situation you are at an even greater chance of requiring medical skills.

Start on your training path today. The American Heart Association website can help you find a class. The one I took only cost me $20 and 3 hours of my time.

Below is the equipment we practiced with. I recommend picking up a mask with a one-way valve, and an infant version if applicable. If you are really serious AED’s are available.

I have also attached a playlist I created of SkinnyMedic covering the same content that was in the class. His YouTube channel is an excellent resource to get started in medical training that is applicable to everyday life and to preppers.

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