Saturday, November 17, 2007

Electrocuted trying to save Lil' Paper-face

I have an evening class at the university that I get to choose the material for. The topic for the past week was 'emergencies'. In the third and final class of the week, I taught a little first aid, specifically the Heimlich Maneuver. I also taught the students to take care of themselves first, before attempting any sort of a rescue. After all, increasing the number of victims by one, by definition, isn't helping the situation.

Upon noticing an incident where someone or some people (or some animals or even plants, I guess) are in danger, first keep yourself out of danger or at least understand the risks.

I taught the students the mnemonic, "No wire, no fire; No gas, no glass". These are things to look out for; I think the 'No glass' part is for completeness. Although I wouldn't want to kneel in broken glass, it's danger or terror value is much less that the others on the list.

Then, I brought the students, one at a time, into the next room where Lil' Paper-face was laying motionless (by a lucky coincidence, on a beach blanket). The first student reached out to see if he was sleeping or unconscious, disregarding the wire that (in the rules of first aid training, and almost as immutable as the rules of horror movies) naturally meant there was an electrical hazard.
The next student then had to rescue two victims. Well, I feel I could teach the steps of artificial respiration but had no intention of doing so; the important next step (after removing the wire and checking to see if they were sleeping) was to call 119 (911 in North America).

The second student performed the steps correctly so the two were saved, although poor Lil' Paper-face just fell to pieces after the class.

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