Coming upon the scene of a car wreck or a school shooting, you are the first person to arrive.
Since it may take first responders a few minutes to get there, what can you do to help victims in the meantime? Can you address their needs?
If you have been educated on what to do, you could help the victims until the first responders can take over.
That just might save someone’s life. You can make a difference.
That’s why the Jackson County Health Department and CPR Education have teamed to offer You Are the Difference training from 9 a.m. to noon June 23 in the meeting room on the first floor of the Jackson County Public Library, 303 W. Second St., Seymour.
The training is free, but preregistration by 5 p.m. June 22 is required. The class is limited to 25 people.
The first hour and a half will be You Are the Help Until Help Arrives, a Federal Emergency Management Agency-derived training that educates people on the steps they can take until emergency responders arrive.
The last hour and a half will be Psychological First Aid, a Mental Health First Aid program designed to help people of all ages in the immediate aftermath of a disaster or terrorism.
“This is just so they can walk out the door and know and feel confident that if they walk upon an accident, they would have a better idea of how not to panic,” said Lin Montgomery, public health coordinator for the health department.
Nate Bryant, owner of CPR Education in Seymour, will lead the first part of the training. He said it will take people through the time they witness an incident to calling 911 to keeping themselves safe to providing care.
It’s important to know how to stop someone from bleeding, said Bryant, who also is a licensed paramedic and has been an instructor for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, first aid and bloodborne and airborne pathogens for 14 years.
“Especially with these shootings and that sort of thing, people can lose half of their blood (in a short time frame),” Bryant said. “When that happens, they can experience irreversible shock, and you can’t recover from that, so having those people there to help before the paramedics and first responders get there, simple things like pressure, that’s basically all they are taught.”
The Psychological First Aid portion is designed to reduce the initial distress caused by traumatic events and to foster short- and long-term coping skills.
“Having to use the skills that you’ve learned, not only is the victim traumatized, but the person that helps them is traumatized, and it may take awhile later on for them to recognize that, ‘Oh, this was an event,'” Montgomery said.
Bryant said everything will go better with a community that’s proactive as opposed to reactive in an emergency situation.
“If you’re prepared and you have this training, it may be chaotic, but it’s not going to be disastrous, so being proactive, I think, is huge,” he said.
With school shootings in the news, Bryant said teachers have expressed interest in knowing what they can do to be prepared if a situation arises.
“You can just never be too prepared when it comes to that,” Bryant said.
He also hopes the training will eliminate fears in these types of situations.
“There are a lot of barriers that people have to not jumping in and helping, and a lot of that is fear either they are uneducated on how to help or they are afraid of catching diseases, afraid of being sued,” Bryant said. “There are a lot of things that go into that, and hopefully, we can clarify some of that.”
The training will cover a lot in three hours, but Bryant said it’s important to let residents know about educational opportunities.
“The health department, CPR Education, there are opportunities here locally that they can learn how to increase awareness and training here within Jackson County and really this part of the state,” he said.
Participants will learn more and find ways to get involved in the community through volunteering or signing up for additional training.
“I’m always encouraging people that they can take care of themselves,” Montgomery said. “If they are prepared, if they know what they need to have and they’ve had the training, they can take care of their own.”
The number of participants will help Bryant and Montgomery determine if they need to do another session in the future or some other type of training.
“This may be something that we may incorporate another course and turn into a six-hour day down the road,” Bryant said. “We’ll just kind of have to see how this one goes and just play it by ear.”
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What: You Are the Difference training featuring evidence-informed modules to better prepare people for emergencies and traumatic events, both manmade and natural
When: 9 a.m. to noon June 23
Where: Meeting room on the first floor of the Jackson County Public Library, 303 W. Second St., Seymour
Who: The class is limited to 25 people; training will be presented by the Jackson County Health Department and CPR Education
Cost: Free, but preregistration by 5 p.m. June 22 is required
Register: Call 812-580-1104 or email [email protected]