Thursday, May 19, 2005

I love a good twisted sense of humor.

Today my employer sent me to a CPR/AED (Automated External Defibrillator) class as part of my being on the Emergency Response Team (ERT). I was just put on the ERT team in the last month. This is part of my being a Mentor and setting a better example to the minions. I’ve worked here for almost 6 years they never once asked me to be on the ERT team until now. However, this time when they asked they said, “We thought you would be perfect for the job with your Law Enforcement/911 background.” I did catch myself from asking why it took them this long to figure that little mental morsel out. You don’t have to be on management to be a member of the ERT, nor does seniority have anything to do with it. People that have been with this company for less time then I, have been on the team for 2-3 years. This little assignment doesn’t bother me, as it makes sense to me. I just wish they would let me bring in my asp (retractable baton) for crowd control during emergencies. I’m kidding; I would never risk jail time for my own pleasure.

I actually enjoyed this CPR/AED class. The instructor had a very similar sense of humor to mine. That and it’s been almost 7 years since my last CPR certification. I noticed very little has changed. One of the things that did change was the emphasis on breaking ribs. When I went back in 98, I had a trainer that kept stressing how important it was that we use the correct amount of force or we would break ribs. He even had a practice dummy with wooden slats that simulated ribs. If you broke one of the slats, that meant you would have broken a rib. I was constantly breaking the slats; I never could get the pressure just right with out causing broken bones. Today’s instructor told us, “Don’t worry about breaking ribs, you are going to do it. Everyone breaks ribs when they do CPR. We don’t want you worrying so much about broken ribs that you don’t do the victim any good.” He followed that with one of my favorite lines in the class, “ Plus each time you break a rib, the compressions are that much easier, so keep that in mind when he hear the first ones snap.” I started chuckling so he says to me, “That does not mean you get to run up to the victim on the ground and stomp on their chest until all of their ribs are broken just so you can perform the compressions easier.” I started laughing harder because that was EXACTLY what I was thinking.

During the part of the class when we were going over the AED, he kept stressing, “Make sure when the machine tells you to clear the body, you have everyone clear away from it. Not only for safety reasons, but if they are touching the victim it could throw off the sensors trying to get vitals and cause a misread.” In case you that don’t know what a defibrillator is, it’s a machine that is used to shock a heart out of a fibrillation so that it can beat normal. He kept stressing this redundantly and to the point of annoyance. I understand why, but I was sure that anyone listening to this computerized voice say “Clear the area, make sure no one is touching the patient”, that the operator would do just that. Well I was wrong. He had a training AED with him and a test dummy to use it on so you could see how the system works. I went first; these things are very easy to use, any 6 year old should be able to follow the pictures and directions to figure out how to use one. Before the machine even tells me to do it, I tell the instructor to “Move away from the body!” I was rather forceful about it, and the instructor, impressed by my assertiveness, admitted he took two steps back before he even thought about it. After I finished I watched as the other people in the class went.

Every time they would start to attach the pads the instructor would be right next to the dummy until they told him to move away. He had to repeatedly remind others in the class to clear the area, even after the machine told them. I think he was finally irritated enough at repeating himself so when the second to last person went, he not only was next to the dummy, he was touching it’s leg. The machine told the trainee to clear the area, which she ignored. It then told her to shock the patient. With his hand still on the dummy, she pushed the shock button.

All of a sudden, the instructor goes rigid and shakes wildly. He then falls over lying on the ground next to the test dummy. Everyone else is just staring wide-eyed, I rush over and give him a little kick with my toe, snickering I ask, “Are you okay?” He grunts and starts laughing. The trainee looks scared, you know the look, the one where someone did something really wrong and hurt somebody else. The instructor stands up and says, “Two lessons here. ALWAYS CLEAR THE AREA BEFORE SHOCKING THE VICTIM! How many times do I have to say that? The machine even tells you! Fortunately, this is a training machine. There is no shock, not that electricity would travel through foam rubber to where I was touching the leg. The other lesson, only Mr. Contagion came over to check to see if I was okay and followed the training of this class. Even though he was laughing at me, at least he checked. Remember your training people!”

After the class, he asked me why I laughed when he got “shocked”. Admittingly I told him that by that time I wasn’t paying attention to what was going on, because I figured I could run one of the AEDs by that point. So when he went rigid and fell over I didn’t see where his hand was on the dummy. I found it highly amusing that the instructor would do something so foolish to get himself hurt, I mean he is the expert! He understood my sense of humor and agreed that was amusing. He also confided that he does that at least once a class because inevitably half the class doesn’t clear the area before shocking.

I love it when the instructors do things to make the class livelier.