By Dave Plunkett
For the second week of National Preparedness Month, we thought we would turn our attention to the skills all of us should possess, but only a few do. Knowing how to perform CPR and other emergency first-aid techniques may not only save the life of a loved one but may save your own as well. Taking CPR or first-aid classes as a family is an enjoyable experience that will bring you all closer while learning truly critically skills. There are numerous life-saving techniques you can learn, including:
- CPR: the abbreviated term for Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation. This is the single most important skill you can learn. Knowing what to do if someone has a heart attack or stroke may make the difference between life and death, but will in any event, make you feel confident of being able to handle a medical emergency. There are several organizations that teach CPR, in classes ranging from nightly to several weeks. The two best known and popular teaching organizations are the Red Cross and YMCA. To find where their nearest class is, go to either of these web addresses:
- First-Aid: everyone needs to know how to perform basic first-aid and have appropriate first-aid supplies on hand. From cutting your finger with a knife to helping someone in a car accident, knowing how to help in emergency situations will always be something you’ll appreciate. You can learn basic and advanced first-aid from both the Red Cross and the YMCA, as well as many other licensed classes. Both the CPR and First-Aid classes are available for a small fee to either organization.
- Swimming Lessons: Drowning is something we all read about, but seldom think about. Did you know that between 2005 – 2014, there was an average of 3,536 unintentional drownings in the U.S., which averages out to ten deaths per day. About one in five people who drown are children under the age of 14. Family swimming lessons are a great way to exercise while learning a life-saving skill.
- Outdoor Survival Skills: Next time you go camping or hiking, use the experience to learn or sharpen your outdoor survival skills. Knowing how to make a fire with a fire starter and fuel, build a temporary shelter, identifying edible and medical plants and how to purify water are just a few of the survival skills you can work on to improve your chances of surviving outdoors.
- Pet Medical Treatment: Your family pet may be the center of attention for your family, but how many people know how to save an animal’s life in an emergency situation? Everyone should know how to save a pet from choking and how to stop bleeding. You can find classes for pet first-aid in most major cities and online sites as well. For more information about animal first-aid, go to ready.gov website on animals and study up.
- Auto Repair: Taking an online or in-person class on the basics of car repair may save your life someday. We’ve all had the occasional flat tire, but how many of us know how to change a flat? Learning how to jury-rig a broken down car may save you and your family when you really need your car to run. You should also keep a “grab & go” kit in your trunk so that if you are stranded in your car, you’ll have enough food and water to survive until help arrives.
Another thing you need to know to complete your emergency preparation is what kinds of food and water to store for your emergency pantry. FEMA recommends that every family in American should have a minimum of three days of food and water stored, with a two-week supply being a goal for everyone to meet. You want to purchase and store food and water that has been specifically designed to be stored and used in disasters and emergency situations. You can make it easy and simple by purchasing specially designed emergency kits that contain enough emergency food to last you and your family for three full days.
To learn the basics of prepping, read all about our 12 Areas of Preparedness and discover the key elements that will help ensure your safety and survival in a variety of emergency/disaster scenarios. It provides valuable information about everything you need to live prepared, from backup lighting options to emergency tools, like a gas shutoff wrench that you normally wouldn't think about storing, but will come in handy during a disaster.
The key to survival is knowing how to survive. By learning life-saving skills like those listed above and keeping an emergency food and tool pantry will not only make you more ready for an emergency, but will provide the peace of mind that comes from being prepared.