Sunday, May 7, 2006

Emergency Response, American Red Cross

Emergency Response
American Red Cross

I have spent the past three months going through this book, page by page, as part of my training to become a volunteer fire fighter. As a result of that time and effort I should wind up with a first responder certificate in a few weeks, and that will be the last straw that lets me finally ride the fire trucks here and help people in need.

With that much time spent slogging through this book, you'd think I'd have a definite opinion about it. And I do, sort of.

On one level, the book is good. The material is important and the basics of first aid should probably be learned by almost everyone in an ideal world. Thus, learning what to do in various cases to save a life is important, and this book is good because it assists that process.

On the other hand, this book sucks. It desperately needed a serious editor to remove all the internal inconsistencies and errors, and to make the overly complex presentations of simple concepts easier to understand.

Here's what I hope for: new CPR protocols were announced late in 2005, and they are a significant departure from the current CPR protocols. In addition, some of the other first aid guidelines are changing as well. As a result, the Red Cross has to redo its books to match those new protocols. If they are on the ball this is a chance to clean up all the stupidities in this book and create something much, much better.

As you may have figured out somewhere along the line, I am a cynic about human nature, though, and I predict here that their new books will be just as bad as this one. Only time will tell, and I'd love to be wrong, but I would bet money on it from what I know.

If you're interested in First Aid and participating in your community, you'll see this book (or the new version) when you take an advanced first aid class via the Red Cross or any organization teaching this stuff. In that context you'll understand how important this stuff is, and yet how bad it can be. I encourage you to take such a class if you can. It might matter one day. And when you do, try to be patient with the poor training materials.