Learn CPR. Save a life. 学会如何拯救生命。

Sometimes you get the opportunity to change the world and when you do you should definitely hold on tight and go for it.

I can't remember where I heard these words or who said them but I know that they are true, oh so true. As a teacher you get plenty of opportunity to change the world, the changes you make may not be earth-shattering in the sense that you'll have millions of people know your name, but changing the minds of a handful of people is good enough for me. In more poetic words, even a small ripple leaves a mark. Then again, some of the teachers I've been lucky enough to study with have changed my world in earth-shattering ways and I will be eternally grateful to them.

On May 14th 2017, a sunny Sunday afternoon, I got an opportunity to change the minds of a handful of people in a very special way and when I looked at my WeChat moments afterwards I couldn't help feeling just a little pleased, accomplished even. A bunch of students had shared their thoughts about the course and my training had definitely moved them. I left a positive impression.

But let's go back to the beginning. So, after a month of excruciatingly hard work and repeated preparation I finally got the chance to teach a three-hour-long First Aid Training Course to a roomful of exited students and it was a blast. Over the years, I've taken a number of first aid training courses myself, always striving to stay up-to-date with the latest techniques and rules but I never thought that I'd get the opportunity to teach a complete course all y myself. It was an experience I'll treasure forever. I did have professional support and I'll be eternally grateful that I finally had the opportunity to teach alongside a person I highly admire and look up to.

Now, I've been teaching for a number of years and normally, when stood in front of a room of people, I don't get stuck for words, but this time around I struggled for a moment, grasping to find the right words. You see, I desperately wanted to leave a good impression on my students, I wanted them to learn and remember the importance of knowing how to safe a life. Most people who learn how to administer First Aid and provide CPR never actually have to use it, but then again you never know... It's always better to be safe than sorry.

Nevertheless, after a few wobbly steps, I found my rhythm and pushed full steam ahead.

We started out with something relatively simple, we took a First Aid Kit apart and looked at all the contents and the use of each item. From where I stood, the students seemed interested and engaged, eagerly taking notes and as we moved through the items they got braver and braver, even attempting to use some of items after I demonstrated their use.

Well then, what is in a First Aid Kit? Let's take a look...

First off though, it's really easy to put together a first aid kit for your home, car or office once you know what should be in it. Most bigger pharmacies sell First Aid Kits and if they don't have them available they can order them for you and you can personalise them with items you or your family regularly needs.

Please Remember!
First Aiders are not allowed to adminsiter medication, except in the event of the casualty suffering a heart attack. You may help the casualty to get their medication, but you may not help them take it. New regulations permit trained and certified First Aiders to administer a 300mg dose of Aspirin to someone suffering from a heart attack (see slide below).

The First Aid courses I have taken over the years were very detailed, included many details and required a practical and written assignment to get certification, however since I only had three hours at my disposal, I had to sacrifice a lot and teach only the most important aspects. As such I chose to go other sprains, broken bones, internal and external bleeding, burns and shock, before moving on to detailed instructions on how to administer CPR, however even here I had to make sacrifices and since we didn't have an training AED (= automated external defibrillator 自动体外电击去颤器) available opted to teach mouth to mouth resuscitation and chest compressions. Trying to save the life of a doll is one heck of a way to get the attention of the entire classroom.

I purposely kept my slides simple and to the point, not wanting to confuse my students, however to avoid any misunderstandings we translated some information into Chinese. Best not to leave anything up to chance.

As for the CPR (= cardio-pulmonary resuscitation 心肺复苏术) part of the course, I was really worried about screwing things up, forgetting to teach important steps or explaining things in the wrong order all under the watchful eye of my mentor. That would have been an earth-open-up-and-swallow-me-alive-loss-of-face moment but I pulled through. I didn't forget a single step, followed instructions and even managed to get the class to instruct me.

To get started we watched a simple video with clear instructions on how to perform CPR, then I did a live demonstration on a training mannequinn. Somehow that came completely natural and switched on auto-pilot. I hadn't even completed the first compression yet when my hands automatically moved into the correct position and I positioned myself above the mannequinn, using my upper body weight to keep me going.

I was truly impressed by how much the students got involved in this part and about half of them volunteered to practice, while the rest of the class kept a watchful eye to remind them of each step and count. I was truly impressed as that was the part I'd been worried about the most: nobody wanting to try. My students proved me wrong, they were amazing and they did so well, I was indeed truly proud.

An unforgettable Sunday afternoon.