Recent in the news, two young boys, ages 9 and 10, helped teach a woman how to perform CPR on her infant, saving the baby’s life. The boys claimed that they learned how to perform CPR from posters in their school cafeteria.
This miraculous story reminds us all of the value of emergency preparedness education. Whether it is a fire drill, earthquake drill, teaching CPR or the Heimlich maneuver, these precautions can save lives when these situations occur—and they do occur. Often times we get so wrapped up in our day to day lives that we forget about taking safety measures or fail to make plans in the case of an emergency.
If your house caught on fire in the middle of the night, what would your family do? What are your plans? If a fire starts when you are home alone, what is the first thing you should do?
If you are babysitting your younger brother and he starts choking, what should you do? Many of you may have had some trouble answering these questions, and it just demonstrates how many of rely on hoping these events won’t happen rather than inform ourselves of the actions we should take in these situations.
I cannot speak for all school districts, but it seems that the schools I attended as a child did a great job of teaching emergency preparedness. I remember a fireman coming to our school to teach fire safety, learning the Heimlich maneuver by practicing on a stuffed animal, and CPR on a dummy in a sports medicine class. I recall hearing a story of a girl in my elementary school who saved her sibling’s life by performing the Heimlich maneuver of her. Kids do learn, do remember, and make use of these emergency protocols when needed; and this is why safety and emergency education should be a top priority in school curriculum.
I have been fortunate enough to not have to rely on this knowledge, however, possessing it brings me a sense of empowerment, control and confidence in my life. It is interesting to see that many young children know more about CPR and other emergency preparedness measures than adults do, although adults are the ones that usually responsible for the care of children. Perhaps it is time for children and adults to address emergency preparedness together, practice them, and develop plans together. When both children and adults have this knowledge, we can save more lives.