Some decades ago I recall Fine Woodworking contacted me and asked about accidents in the woodworking school. I said we’d never had any serious incidents in two decades and the very worst to date was 2 stitches in a man’s hand that wouldn’t stop bleeding because he was on blood thinner which stopped the blood from clotting as per normal. What they were looking for was really machine-related injury, so we were disqualified as we only taught handwork back then. The truth is that hand tools too can cause great injury if you are not careful.
I want always to be prepared to help
I decided to upgrade my first aid certification last week as mine was out of date. I didn’t learn much more than I had learned from previous courses yet the course was much shorter at 3 days than my previous training. The fact is the human body hasn’t changed and neither has the knowledge. Much of what was taught me 40 years ago when I began as a first-aider and subsequent to that has changed very little if any at all. I did notice in the course that the output was more toward being more self-protecting for the first-aider. But we were encouraged also to retain the original spirit of intent which was and is to offer first aid that prevents further developments that might lead to a more serious deterioration or even death. What the course gave me was greater insight into the other first aiders with me on the course and then the instructors guiding us. The one binding element was to be equipped to help. It didn’t matter who worked for what entity, I felt a sense of unity with people who genuinely cared about the wellbeing of others rather than mere self protection, but self-protection is important of course. If you as the first aider are taken out, who is going to do what you planned on being there for?
I did the course because you never know when someone will need your help. I see machinist woodworkers around me most days in other working areas and feel obliged to at least do the best I can to be there for them. This course helped me greatly and I felt my confidence levels return to a point where I felt that I could stand in the gap until experienced help could get to the scene.
Of course it was more than just the workplace. All of the knowledge and skills could be applied to dozens of other situations. Sitting in the office/studio back at work the past two days I felt thankful that we could help others beyond our sphere.
First aid goes with you wherever you are and I have pulled my fair share of splinters over the years. In my work splinters and cuts go with the territory as can sprains and the occasional broken bone. Of course beyond that there is self help too. What do you do when you are 30 miles from the nearest anything in the middle of mesquite terrain covering a hundred miles and more? The chainsaw slipped and the tip of your finger disappeared? How about when you took all the precautions, guards in place and so on, and a slight slip caused your finger to catch the very itty-bitty corner of the cutter head. Can’t happen? Some say so. Anyway, that’s not the point, the accident’s happened and you have to handle them as best you can somehow. These things of course happened for me back in the nether days when the www was just a babe in arms and cell phones were not. I raised my arm, applied a pad from my first-aid kit and the blood thankfully stopped. How easy is that. You can download first-aid apps these days that walk you through the steps to dealing with injuries, but it is still better to have hands-on. You never really know where you will be in a time when need and speed unite. Are you ready? That’s all this blog is about. EVERYONE can learn some basic first-aid to get through a crisis. Your mates, your kids, your husband or wife may depend on a little bit of knowledge. You can join a course online for free these days too, or you can pay for a course and attend with other people as i just did. I found this helpful because of the added interaction with my fellow first aiders. The choice is yours. You will always feel better if you are ready!