Stepping into a grey room of the Monmouth Township Library, I was greeted by the song, “Shape of you”, by Ed Sheeran, a CPR dummy, and medical instructors who would help me become certified in giving first aid, even though I had no medical experience whatsoever.
The instructors began the class by explaining the significance of playing that particular song, which contains the 100-count beat. This is vital when preforming CPR since the person performing it must match the beat of the heart when applying pressure with their hands. An 80-100 count beat is the ideal range for the beats per min (bpm) for a heart.
CPR stands for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. If a person stops breathing or their heart stops beating normally, this lifesaving technique is used to restore oxygenated blood flow to the vital organs.
After visually learning how to first identify what first aid is needed and watching real-life situational videos, I experienced a hands-on roleplay with the CPR dummy. This mimicked how difficult pushing through the chest and rib cage of a person might be, and allowed me to gain an idea of how much pressure I need to apply in order for my hand to affect the beat of the heart under the layers of skin, muscles, and bones.
My next lesson and roleplay in first aid was how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED), which is used to shock an irregular hear beat back to normal.
Finally, the instructors taught me how to inject an EpiPen for people suffering a fatal allergic reaction.
Following the roleplays, the instructors told us some personal information about themselves – they are all medical high school students trying to make more people aware of how to administer first aid.
Freshman Alexa Fedak says, “I never knew a teenager could be certified to administer first aid. I think it is really cool and useful because it shows that you care about helping others.”
Providing immediate first aid can increase the the survival of the patient by 11 percent. Many people tend to leave first aid to the paramedics because they do not want to injure the person in any way. I, like those people, was afraid of the same thing, but I learned that it is better to do something out of sincerity than let the person suffer until the closest emergency squad arrives.
Junior Rohan Shah says, “Over the summer, I volunteered at Centra State Hospital where I was required to learn how to administer CPR. I was really nervous because I did not want to injure the person more, but I learned that it was better for the person receiving CPR to break a bone from my constant pressure than die.”
I have observed a few people who have suffered from an almost fatal allergic reaction or cardiac arrest. After seeing how these instructors are around my age and more medically skilled in other areas, I have a newfound feeling of determination to pass through myself, as I think of the lives I can possibly save without standing idly by.