The Basic Life Support (First Aid/CPR/AED) training program is a skill transfer process delivered by a licensed or certified instructor to those serving as First Responders in emergency situations to offer First Aid to individuals who are bleeding, have fractures or burns from work place injury, accidents, drowning, choking etc., as well as conducting Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on individuals with cardiac arrest amongst others. This timely care provided to patients often makes the difference between life and death, hence, the need for it in all work places, public areas and even in our homes.
“A stitch in time, saves nine” says the old adage on timeliness of action on things that require urgency. Many of us must have witnessed or heard about health-related adverse events amongst colleagues at our work places at some point or the other. These events do happen without warning, therefore, as part of efforts to improve work place health and safety, there is a need to provide needed health information and equip the workforce with adequate skills to deliver emergency care whenever needed, pending arrival of a more skilled professional health staff.
Given that one in four Nigerians die from chronic medical conditions such as hypertension, heart failure, cardiomyopathy, diabetes, cancer, hypercholesterolemia, atherosclerosis amongst others, there is an urgent need for engaging and training workers on the importance of maintaining a culture of healthy lifestyle choices that can impact their health, and ultimately improve their productivity. Furthermore, scientific research has shown that 80-90% of heart attacks occur outside the hospital setting and that early resuscitation and defibrillation within 1-2 minutes of a cardiac event can lead to >60% rate of survival. It is therefore imperative that work place health and safety is enhanced through this transfer of knowledge to all.
To do this training effectively and get the best benefit, it is important for each work organization to have an emergency plan or policy that clearly outlines what needs to be done and what roles each individual should play. There should also be adequate provision of a properly kitted First Aid box along with a functional Automated External Defibrillator (AED) that are strategically placed in accessible locations within the organization. These should be complemented with a well-coordinated periodic simulations of emergency situations to ensure that staff that have been trained and designated as First Responders get used to their roles and can deliver the expected response to real emergency situations whenever they occur.
Finally, it is important to note that these skills might one day make the difference in the life of a very close loved one, even in our homes. I certainly would love for my wife to have the Basic Life Support skills and be capable of providing First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) to me, should I need it, pending the arrival of advanced care by other skilled healthcare professionals. It is my firm belief therefore and I hereby strongly advocate that we should take this training seriously and get skilled in Basic Life Support. We should also endeavor to advocate for our work places to provide this training for staff and complement that training with the provision of First Aid Boxes and AEDs.