A key class that we run out in the forest is a Basic Life Support (BLS). Now, you may have seen this on ER with lots of people running around and shouting “clear!” and zapping people with electricity. Now, that only works if the patient has an abnormal heart rhythm called Ventricular Fibrillation (VF, or V-Fib) or Ventricular Tachycardia (VT, or V-tach). Most times in the forest (and on the street), you may not have the equipment or training to make that call.
Recent research has shown that the earlier Basic Life Support (BLS) is started with effective, continuous chest compressions, the greater chance you have of getting return to life and preventing long term brain damage.
We show our students how to deal with the collapsed patient, recognise cardiac arrest, and have the confidence to start and continue BLS (chest compressions) until more help arrives.
Mouth-to-mouth ventilation is not enouraged these days as it takes ages, you may not have a Resuscitation Mask and reduces time on the chest.
Remember: act fast, and have the confidence to do chest compressions – you may save someone’s life!
(Photo taken by Dr Kim Ki-Kydd)