Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lazy Sunday #123: Time To Learn CPR

I was still in high school when I learned CPR (Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation). A couple of bored firemen came to gym class with this blonde dummy in a blue track suit that they laid out on the floor to teach us how it was done.

Up until then, the most reliable way of saving somebody who'd drowned was pushing on their back and lifting their elbows until you pumped out all the water. But CPR could be used in all sorts of situations where somebody had stopped breathing.

It's about the simplest thing in the world to learn, but we stood around in our gym shorts pretending we didn't get it so there wouldn't be time for our sadistic Phys-Ed instructor to squeeze in some wind sprints or a game of murder ball before the final bell.

Frustrated by our density, the firemen decided we ought to pick a partner and take turns trying it out on a real body. No group of teenage boys has ever gotten a concept so fast. I swear that dummy was up and walking around by the time we were done.

Later on, I got certified at CPR during scuba training. But by that time, Canadian actors William Shatner on "Rescue: 911" and Pamela Anderson on "Baywatch" had pretty much taught the whole world how it's done.

Maybe trying to revive something that's stopped breathing is a particularly Canadian thing.

That would at least explain all the recent excitement over uniting the Liberals and the NDP.

However, a couple of summers back, I had the occasion to actually have to use CPR. And though that dummy and scuba course were decades past, "my training kicked in" as they say and the victim was breathing on their own by the time the paramedics arrived.

And it was surprising to learn that of the dozens of people on the beach that day, not one of them knew what to do.

With the arrival of summer, a lot of us are going to be out on the water or camping and hiking far from any immediate medical assistance. Five minutes learning the basics could make all the difference for somebody.

So take a few moments right now and learn CPR.

I believe I have found the perfect instructors to indelibly imprint the technique.

Enjoy your Sunday.

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