Archive for November, 2009

A Letter from a Responder in Action

I am a Royal Automobile Club (RAC) Patrol, working in Bristol, UK. On the evening of 18 Nov 2009 I was parked just off the M32, when a vehicle pulled up behind me and an elderly gentleman came to my window and asked if I had a telephone he could use as a passenger in his vehicle had collapsed and was, as he put it, “gone”. 

I immediately checked her (the casualty) for breathing and for a pulse and there was none detected. I telephoned for an ambulance and began CPR on the back seat of the vehicle. I continued this for approximately 10 minutes until a rapid response vehicle arrived. The Paramedic told me to keep going while he set up his equipment. She was connected to a De-Fib and was in VF. The Paramedic shocked her twice and on the second time a normal rhythm returned. By this time another ambulance had arrived and the lady was put onto a stretcher and taken to the Bristol Royal Infirmary.

I have to say that whilst this event unfolded I was thinking of what I had been taught on my EFR Course and more recently on my Instructor course in September.  It was pretty much all automatic and I am so pleased I was able to help in an appropriate manner, hopefully going some way to saving this lady.

Since then I’ve checked on the condition of the lady I helped and the news is that she should make a good recovery and is expected to be discharged from hospital soon. When I visited the ambulance station in Bristol last evening the Paramedic who arrived at scene commented specifically that my intervention was the key factor in this person’s survival.
It’s the best feeling in the world knowing that my training went into automatic mode and my little bit of help has helped to preserve someone’s life.  It has given me the confidence to help again should the situation arise.

Many thanks for the quality training.

Dave Bennett – Emergency First Response Instructor

Bathtub Safety Awareness

Researchers have reported that more than 43,000 children under the age of 18 are injured each year by doing something as ordinary as taking a bath or shower. A study focusing on the slip and fall aspect of bathtub injuries was published in the July edition of Pediatrics. “What caught our attention was the frequency of the slips and falls,” said lead researcher Dr. Gary A. Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.  “There are about 120 kids a day injured by slips and falls in bathtubs and showers, and that number is constant over the 18 years the researchers looked at.” Smith said. “That is really telling me that we have a problem that needs to be addressed,” he noted.

Fall, slips and trips were the most common reason for injuries, accounting for 81 percent of all injuries, according to the report.  Smith first suggests that parents use slip resistant mats inside and outside of the bathtub to prevent slip and falls. Secondly, Smith remarks that manufacturers must look at the current standard for slip resistance and strengthen the criteria.

Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, said it’s, “alarming that more than 40,000 children are injured badly enough each year in bath and shower tumbles to warrant a trip to the emergency room. “If these injuries were unavoidable, that would be one thing,” Katz said. “But they are extremely, if not completely, preventable.” Katz noted.

For now, parents are forewarned that tub and shower tumbles in young children are a common cause of injury, Katz said. “So the first line of defense is parental vigilance. But the more definitive response is to re-engineer tubs and showers,” he said.

When Thunder Roars – Go Indoors!


When thunder roars – go indoors!  This is a slogan that the National Weather Service (NWS) is promoting to remind us that lighting is a very real threat.  According to the NWS, in the United States an average of 58 deaths per year are attributed to lighting strikes. Hundred of others are permanently injured.  Minimize your risk of being struck by educating yourself on the behavior of lighting.

Lightning can strike as far as 10 miles from the area where it is raining. That’s about the distance you can hear thunder. If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance and should seek shelter right away. Once indoors, stay off corded phones, computers, and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity.

Should someone be struck by lighting remember that victims do not carry an electrical charge, are safe to touch, and need urgent medical attention.  Cardiac arrest is the immediate cause of death for those who die.  Some deaths can be prevented if the victim receives the proper first aid immediately.  Call 911 immediately and perform CPR if the person is unresponsive or not breathing and use an Automatic External Defibrillator if one is available. 


2009 Holiday Safety Tips

Christmas ornaments of different color and gift ribbons

Photo courtesy of

The holidays are an exciting time of year for kids, and to help ensure they have a safe holiday season, here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).


When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label “Fire Resistant.”

When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness.  A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and when bent between your fingers, needles do not break. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.

When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.

Cut a few inches off the trunk of your tree to expose the fresh wood.  This allows for better water absorption and will help to keep your tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.

Be sure to keep the stand filled with water, because heated rooms can dry live trees out rapidly. 


Check all tree lights-even if you’ve just purchased them-before hanging them on your tree.  Make sure all the bulbs work and that there are no frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections.

Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.

Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use.  To hold lights in place, string them through hooks or insulated staples, not nails or tacks.  Never pull or tug lights to remove them.

Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.

Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.


Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or nonleaded metals.

Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Always use non-flammable holders, and place candles where they will not be knocked down.

In homes with small children, take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable.  Keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children to prevent them from swallowing or inhaling small pieces.  Avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a young child to eat them.

Wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation while decorating with spun glass “angel hair.” Follow container directions carefully to avoid lung irritation while decorating with artificial snow sprays.

Remove all wrapping papers, bags, paper, ribbons and bows from tree and fireplace areas after gifts are opened.  These items can pose suffocation and choking hazards to a small child or can cause a fire if near flame. 

Toy Safety

Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the intended child.  Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards for younger children.        

Before buying a toy or allowing your child to play with a toy that he has received as a gift, read the instructions carefully. 

To prevent both burns and electrical shocks, don’t give young children (under age ten) a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet.  Instead, buy toys that are battery-operated.

Children under age three can choke on small parts contained in toys or games. Government regulations specify that toys for children under age three cannot have parts less than 1 1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/4 inches long.

Children can have serious stomach and intestinal problems – including death — after swallowing button batteries and magnets.  Keep them away from young children and call your health care provider immediately if your child swallows one.

Children under age 8 can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Remove strings and ribbons from toys before giving them to young children. 

Watch for pull toys with strings that are more than 12 inches in length. They could be a strangulation hazard for babies.

Food Safety

Bacteria are often present in raw foods.  Fully cook meats and poultry, and thoroughly wash raw vegetables and fruits.

Be sure to keep hot liquids and foods away from the edges of counters and tables, where they can be easily knocked over by a young child’s exploring hands.

Wash your hands frequently, and make sure your children do the same.

Never put a spoon used to taste food back into food without washing it.

Always keep raw foods and cooked foods separately, and use separate utensils when preparing them.

Always thaw meat in the refrigerator, never on the countertop.

Foods that require refrigeration should never be left at room temperature for more than two hours.

Happy Visiting

Clean up immediately after a holiday party.  A toddler could rise early and choke on leftover food or come in contact with alcohol or tobacco.

Remember that the homes you visit may not be childproofed.  Keep an eye out for danger spots.

Keep a list with all of the important phone numbers you or a baby-sitter are likely to need in case of an emergency. Include the police and fire department, your pediatrician and the national Poison Help Line, 1-800-222-1222. Laminating the list will prevent it from being torn or damaged by accidental spills.

Traveling, visiting family members, getting presents, shopping, etc., can all increase your child’s stress levels. Trying to stick to your child’s usual routines, including sleep schedules and timing of naps, can help you and your child enjoy the holidays and reduce stress.


Before lighting any fire, remove all greens, boughs, papers, and other decorations from fireplace area.  Check to see that the flue is open.

Use care with “fire salts,” which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if eaten. Keep them away from children.

Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.

2009 – American Academy of Pediatrics

Emergency First Response

Subscribe to email updates

November 2009