Archive Page 2

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

Be Part of the Solution

In the wake of disasters, many wonder how they could help or make a difference. As an Emergency First Response Instructor, you are in a unique position to help people prepare for the worst. You can reach out and emphasize the need for CPR, AED and first aid training as a part of a greater emergency preparedness. Some tragedies quickly overwhelmed emergency services networks – leaving many citizens on their own and fending for themselves. Some feel that individuals should prepare for a three to five day self-sufficiency following a disaster. This includes having food and water readily available as well as training in CPR and first aid to handle emergencies.

This is where you come in. By teaching people in your community to respond appropriately and with confidence in the event of an emergency, you become part of the emergency preparedness solution. You can also stress the importance of AED training, as home defibrillators are now available without a doctor’s prescription in some areas. As an Emergency First Response Instructor, you have access to the customizable press release kit available at the Emergency First Response Instructor website. You’ll also find an Emergency Preparedness Checklist, a Family First Aid Supply List and an image to include with your promotional advertisements and Emergency First Response course schedule. Emergency preparedness has also been added to the consumer side of the website at

 Now is the time to reach out and help your friends, neighbors and local businesses with disaster preparation. The benefits of doing so can be tremendous.

EFR Success in Kona

Kona CPR is now a thriving CPR and first aid business in Kona, Hawaii, USA, but that wasn’t always the case. After becoming an Emergency First Response Instructor in 2007, Kara Osada issued just seven completion cards. But, since that modest start, her business has produced more than 230 Emergency First Responders and is on track to exceed that mark this year. In this interview, Osada shares her perspective and experiences implementing Emergency First Response programs.

The Responder (TR): To what do you attribute the success of your EFR business?
Kara Osada (KO):
Not just doing the basics, but making it a fun, enjoyable and quality class. Kona CPR fills a prefect niche in Kona, Hawaii. Kona CPR has been able to come in and provide quality training classes weekly for individuals or groups at business locations. I have started classes as early as 7 am or as late as 6 pm – depending upon the participants’ needs.

TR: Do you have a specific market that you target and if so, how did you identify that market?
When I started, I thought I would be teaching mostly fisherman and scuba groups, but I was so wrong. I teach massage therapy students, teachers, industrial workers, construction workers, tour operators, nurses, physical therapist, baby sitters, health care workers, day care centers and so many more. The people I have met through teaching tend to be the most amazing people as they have chosen careers that offer assistance and care to others.

TR: What is your marketing and advertising strategy? How do you attract new participants?
Build a great website. I have also used the paper, though word of mouth works wonders once you get started.

TR: What, if any, challenges did you encounter during the development of your business?
The biggest struggle I face is people not knowing the name of Emergency First Response. I have spent a lot of time getting Emergency First Response programs approved by companies for their employees. I have also run into problems because of the temporary card that is issued at the time of completion. Many people are applying for jobs that same day and need cards that don’t say temporary on them. I have found that keeping Certificates of Completion on hand is helpful in these cases.

TR: From a business perspective, what has been your most important lesson as an Emergency First Response Instructor?
As a new company, you have to find your niche. Here, it was providing quality training at times when people could make it. In other places, it may be as simple as having a large space for companies to send large groups when they cannot hold training at their site. It’s all about looking at your market and seeing what might work!

TR: What do you think is the ideal class size and participant to mannequin ratio?
I teach with one mannequin for every two people. I have found that with three to one ratios, participants grow tired at the length of the course. I think the most learning occurs with class sizes of six to eight. It’s big enough that one participant doesn’t feel pressured, yet small enough that I can watch and comment on technique.

TR: How do you use the EFR materials to efficiently teach your courses?
I hand out guides and books at the start of the course. For the participants I work with, it’s not practical for them to review material prior to the course. Participants fill in knowledge reviews while watching the video. We go through the knowledge review after the video. As participants go through the skills sets, I refer them to the book on sections for further reading and review.

TR: What are some of your favorite role-playing scenarios for the final exercise?
I can’t say I have a favorite. I try to pick scenarios they will be likely to see. For individuals who work as health care providers, we talk about how they can manage on their own. With large companies that have many employees getting certified, we talk about how they can best manage a scene without having everyone do the same thing. I really try to personalize the training with exercises for the group I’m training, which also makes it fun for me, as every class is unique.

EFR Training Saves a Life – by Jan Kmiecik

I was swimming in a lake with my then eight year old boy. We were starting the 320 metre/350 yard return journey from the dam to the western end of the reservoir when I saw my stepfather enter the water to swim. As we neared him I thought he was lying on his back, floating, but soon realized he was moving only in the slight eddy, and was face down in the water. I yelled for help, instructed my little boy to leave the water by the shortest route, and swam rapidly to my stepfather’s assistance. I rolled him onto his back, and used the recovery method to swim with him to the edge of the lake.

Thankfully there was a man passing with his wife, and a mobile telephone. He assisted me in extricating my stepfather from the water. After pulling him out of the water, I was unable to see any signs of self-sustained breathing, so I immediately began CPR and mouth to mouth resuscitation.  I was concerned whilst giving CPR of the sound of cracking, and thought I had broken/cracked his ribs. I then turned him onto his left side to aid in water egress from his mouth, as he recovered consciousness.

A telephone call had been placed during the “excitement” and soon after my stepfather started to come around, the Municipal Police arrived to take notes. It was some 15 minutes or more after that the ambulance arrived. My stepfather was able to speak to me by the time the professionals arrived, and asked what had happened. Being aware of his age (71) and the likely onset of shock, I refrained from telling him what occurred, other than there had been “a bit of a flap”.

He was evacuated to hospital where he spent several days undergoing tests for the cause of his accident. Absolutely nothing was found to be wrong with him, other than the scratches sustained in removing him from the water, up the rocks, and onto the road, which although appeared bad, were trivial.

Looking critically at my actions, I was hasty in starting CPR, as I don’t remember checking for signs of life. The deep, angry purple/blue color of my stepfather’s head was enough to spur me into action immediately.  Thanks to my training with instructor Simon Hoekstra (EFR Instructor – 969857), from Phuket, Thailand, my stepfather is alive.

Improving Business with EFR Approvals

Using Approvals to Get Business

You might have come across the list of accredited organizations when browsing the Emergency First Response website. This is a list of organizations that have recognized Emergency First Response® programs and you can use it to your advantage and increase business? Start by browsing for approvals and target specific businesses or groups using the marketing materials available to you on the Emergency First Response Instructor site.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you decide you want to use the approval from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Division of Child Development. First, pinpoint businesses you’d like to target. Since this is a Department of Child Development approval, you’ll likely solicit schools and day care facilities. Personalize the Preparedness and Compliance Made Easy handout (product no. 10277) from the EFR® marketing tool kit, then prepare a cover letter using the EFR letterhead. Tailor the copy so it speaks directly to the business. Then, send the two out and follow up with phone calls or additional mailers.

If you have questions or would like suggestions on gathering marketing materials, please contact

Manikin Features

Manikin Options For Your EFR Programs

Numerous companies sell adult, child and infant manikins at various price points. These range from the most basic models to those that are so life-like that they are used to help train doctors, paramedics and nurses.

So if you’re looking to purchase manikins for your EFR business, which is the best choice for you? It’s important to note that bulk purchases often offer a substantial discount over individual buys. Packages often also include necessary additional supplies such as manikin lungs.

Here is a partial list of what you might want to look at when considering your manikin purchase:

  • Lung/Mouth systems. If each participant has their own one-piece, disposable lung/mouth protection system, it reduces cross contamination and simplified manikin sanitization.

  • Low Cost Removable face. This allows each participant to have their own and minimize any cross contamination between participants.

  • Carrying bags. These bags often let you transport several fully-assembled manikins or have wheels to make transportation easier.

  • Clicker. A built-in click mechanisms provides positive reinforcement for hand placement and compression depth. If participants hear the click, they know that their hand placement and compression depth is correct. The instructor can also hear if the compression timing is within guidelines.

  • Facial features. A pliable nose and mouth makes sealing the airway a more lifelike experience.

  • Age selector. Some manikins allow instructors to change the compression depth so it is appropriate for children or adult CPR.

  • Materials and durability. Many manikins are constructed from durable materials suitable for outdoor use or near water.

  • Easy to clean. Many modern manikins are relatively simple and easy to clean up.

When choosing your manikin, assess your needs and compare them to the different options available. Oftentimes the more features you add, the more the manikins may cost, so be sure to balance out your budget with your needs and get the most manikin you can afford.