Thanks to Security Debrief’s helpful Homeland Blog Watch ticker I learned that today is – in addition to this blogger’s birthday – the last day of the First National CPR-AED Awareness Week. According to Emsresponder.com:
Congress designated the first week of June each year for this event, with the goal of encouraging states, cities and towns to establish organized programs to provide CPR and AED training to the public. The American Red Cross and American Heart Association are both supporting the effort.
“Through this outreach, we hope that we can raise the public awareness of sudden cardiac arrest, suffered by more than 300,000 people each year and increase the chance of survival that can be achieved by having at least one person in each household trained in CPR and the use of an AED,” the American Red Cross reports.
In December of 2006, I took a half-day CPR-AED certification class at the the Red Cross of Greater New York which offers a number of CPR classes as do Red Cross chapters across the nation. (By the way, AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator which is the portable electronic device mounted in many public places.)
The CPR-AED certification has to be renewed every year, and so I am six months overdue in taking the necessary refresher class. Though it’s a bother to do, the truth is that 18 months after my initial training I feel rusty — if put into an emergency situation, I’m not sure I would do CPR right or be able to work the AED machine correctly. Maybe it would come back to me, but I could definitely use a couple CPR practice rehearsals with the plastic dummy.
However, the fact that I haven’t gotten around to renewing is instructive. Like a lot of aspects of preparedness, it’s easy to find a reason to put it off. So, the key is finding ways to make it easier for people.
When I took my CPR course, I was surprised by how many people were in the class on a weekday. But it turned out that almost everyone there was a physical trainer who needed the certificate to get their license. It was another example of the role of incentives in focusing busy people’s attention on preparedness (or for that matter focusing busy people’s attention on anything).