Thursday, August 30, 2012

A first aid "fire drill"

Think back to your school days. How many times did those fire alarms go off, leading the teachers to line hundreds of students up to exit the building in a safe and orderly fashion? Chances are, we've all been a part of dozens of fire drills (as I recall, they always took place on typically frozen WNY winter days, not in gorgeous conditions like today...), designed to make sure everyone in the building knows what to do should an actual emergency take place. Well this morning, I found myself taking part in a "first aid fire drill!!"

I was too busy taking part to get a picture of the actual
first aid"fire drill." But these are some of the
reviewers who critiqued our work.
I received a call asking me to quickly make my way downstairs. I ran down to the reception desk, where I was told to head in to the Board Room. I was already a bit confused before I opened the door to see about 20 people. I was greeted by someone telling me this was a Red Cross drill, then I saw a "victim" lying on the floor, "bleeding" from her forehead. I immediately flashed to my first aid training. My colleague Jose was first on the scene, so I asked him what happened. He told me she was bleeding and unconscious but breathing. I asked if I should call 911 while he attended to her wound, and he agreed. When I returned from "calling" 911, another of our colleagues, Susan, was also on the scene. Then, the scenario changed. We were told that our "victim" had now stopped breathing. Jose quickly began CPR. I asked if we had an AED on-scene, which we did. Susan and I set about putting it together, then Susan hooked it up to our "victim" (by this time, a mannequin had replaced our role-playing instructor) and followed the prompts to use it properly. At this point, I took a step back to lead the EMT's to the scene while Jose and Susan continued their resuscitation efforts. We were then told that the EMT's had "arrived" and our drill was over.

A few minutes later, the three of us were summoned back into the room for a review. We were told that we communicated well together, complimented for our willingness to help, and told that we used our training well and our "victim" survived. 

After calming down a bit, this made me remember why we did all those fire drills in school. It's great to be told what to do in case of emergency, but it's another thing entirely to put it into practice using a realistic scenario. We've all taken CPR/First Aid training, but most of us have never had to use it, and those skills can get rusty without a little bit of practice.

That's why the Red Cross in this region is starting to offer these follow-up assessment "fire drills" as part of our corporate first aid training. If you'd like to schedule a life-saving training at your business (and then face the "test" afterwards!!), email or call Jill Gregory at (716) 878-2382. Or, for a full list of Health & Safety courses, please visit And remember, practice makes perfect!!