Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hurricanes, Earthquakes and Zombies.

This past Monday morning I watched the news on TV. This is not something I usually have time for or will try to compete with the kids to watch the only TV in the house. But I did and I learned that the Northeast is the path of a hurricane. This is news. Usually here in NH we just get the aftermath after the hurricane is downgraded to a tropical storm or even less severe. A few hours later I found out there was an earthquake a few hundred miles south of us.

So as I'm thinking about Hurricanes and Earthquakes I began to think about Zombies. Yup, Zombies.

Get A Kit,    Make A Plan, Be Prepared.

What do Zombies have to do with Earthquakes and Hurricanes?

The folks at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention put together a really neat guide on how to survive a zombie apocalypse. Remember a while back the world was supposed to end or we were going to be overrun by zombies? Well the folks at the CDC wanted to make sure we were prepared and created a really good guide on how we could do that. Coincidentally their zombie apocalypse emergency preparedness guide is also a great good guide for how to prepare for a hurricane or earthquake.

Rather than paraphrase the CDC website here are the links to specific emergency preparedness information now that we're in hurricane season and could potentially feel some earthquake aftershocks.

Hurricane Preparedness
Natural Disasters & Severe Weather
Zombie Apocalypse

Thursday, August 18, 2011

DNR orders

I had several good questions about DNR aka Do Not Resuscitate orders in some classes a few months ago, and recently there has been a very interesting legal discussion on them in one of the Instructors Forums I belong to.

A DNR order is a legal document signed by a patient's physician that states that in the event of a life-ending situation, life-saving measures should not be initiated. This means that CPR is not started. However if someone is choking, and is conscious, you can provide an abdominal or chest thrust to relieve choking. You should not start CPR if the foreign body airway obstruction cannot be removed. You can read the NH Definition of DNR here.

How do you know if a person has a DNR? In a medical care facility this will be in the patients chart and paperwork. The nursing and care staff should be familiar with does and does not have a DNR order. In an out-of-hospital setting check to see the patient is wearing a state-issued DNR bracelet or if the family has a copy of the order.

It varies from state to state, but here in NH where I am located a patient with a terminal condition can receive a DNR bracelet through their physician. It is a state issued bracelet that looks like a hospital bracelet. The NH law on DNR bracelets can be found on the State of NH Website

If you are a Good Samaritan who sees someone collapse and they have a DNR bracelet you do not need to start CPR. HOWEVER - if you're not sure and/or you don't see one. START CPR. These bracelets are more easily recognized by EMS providers.

If you have a loved one at home who has a DNR and you call 911. Please make sure you have a copy of the order to share with EMS providers when they arrive. Tell 911 there is a DNR order as they will relay that to the responding ambulance. That helps them to be prepared and have a treatment plan in place when they arrive.

If you're not in NH take a look at your state's laws and rules on DNR orders and how they may apply to you.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Does it matter whose name is on my card?

I've been following an interesting discussion on an instructors forum I am on. It is one of those conversations that started out as one thing, and is slowly morphing into several different topics.

But one of the conversations that came out of it was the staff at one agency somewhat bashing the credentials of another ... and that's not cool.

There are many really good CPR and First Aid programs out there. While I teach for the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Safety and Health Institute (ASHI); there is also the American Red Cross (ARC), Emergency Care & Safety Institute (ECSI), American CPR and probably a few I'm not familiar with.

There are also a lot of not so good programs out there, I'm not even going to try to look them up to list them here.

How do you tell a good program from a not-so-good program?
A good program has a hands-on skills component to the class. A good program can have traditional classroom courses as well as blended programs that encompass both online learning and skills sessions with an instructor. A good indication a program is in the not-so-good category is when the website promises the course is short and you can print off your card from their website once you pay them.

What's the difference between the different good programs?
We all teach roughly the same skills. Good CPR programs follow ILCOR 2010 Guidelines. Good First Aid programs follow the 2010 consensus for First Aid co-written by the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross. The training materials, length of class and how the class is taught will vary between the different organizations. However if your class includes hands-on skills practice you can be comfortable know that you are taking a good course.

If you need certification for work or as a licensing requirement check what is required. Some employers or licensing agencies may require you to hold a card from a specific organization. You should check into that before registering for a course so that you make sure you are taking the correct course for your workplace of license.