Post acceptance requirement acquired! By Rania M M Watts

When I was accepted into the Victimology Graduate Certificate program at Durham College starting this fall – I knew that there were going to be post acceptance requirements.  And, yet again First Aid & CPR made its way into my lexicon, along with a new component of how to utilise an AED — which I was so appreciative to learn — as I’d only seen them used on tv or in the movies. However, this time there was a new global pandemic crisis which presented itself and practically turned our world literally upside down.  Which meant back in February when I started to look for places that taught all the requirements and here’s the most important thing, they had to be WSIB certified – it was tasking.  Nevertheless, I found a place with a convenient quality of being local which housed a 5-star rating from each of the 94 posted Google reviews. Once I share this, there will be one more with 5 golden sparklers relating to how enrolling at Lifesaver 101 regardless of location will benefit you. I was delighted to learn my location was literally across the highway and very accessible.

I reached out to Lifesaver 101 back in July when I saw there might be a possibility to acquire my requirements before the flood came in – especially after a very arduous lockdown.  Everything had changed! I have to admit, this was the first time that I had taken a First Aid CPR course that was a special hybrid beast which emerged for the purpose of distancing to ensure safety of those who would be participating in class.  But before I get to that I would like to discuss the process…

Lifesaver 101 has broken down the traditional 2 full days of in class Standard First Aid and CPR with an online component. And, here is the best part – the student can complete all the modules presented online, on their own time. This provides you with a 90-day certification before you are required to complete the practical portion of the course. I personally recommend you do not wait the full 90 days before enrolling in the practical assessment portion.  The hands-on training solidifies everything learned online and I believe should be completed within a month of each other at the very latest. In the long run I genuinely believe that this process will help students absorb more content as the online portion was not only fluid but comprehensible. 

Let me rewind a half second, when I called Lifesaver 101 back in July my phone call was answered by Marjaan Hadi the owner of the Pickering location. I was so delighted to speak to Marjaan as she completely walked me through everything I was required to complete, in addition to the proper way of how to sign up for a course and the process of what will occur once the online portion was completed.  Weekends are always busy, I desired a weekday, Marjaan could attest to how MUCH I REQUIRED a weekday session and thankfully Marjaan was able to accommodate me.  A fact that I am so grateful for at present! 

The first time I signed up for a First Aid CPR course EVER was in 1997, decades ago as a requirement for work when I was a practising Social Service Worker.  Fast forward decades and change I found myself in a classroom on August 11 and truly discovered exactly how much had been altered from my first course. There were a few things that remained the same like the 123 & ABC’s which for those of you who have never taken this course – EMS stands for Emergency Scene Management and part of that assessment is understanding what to do and when to do it.  The 123 Scene Survey includes: 1 Safety, 2 Response, and 3 Call 911 or activate emergency response.  Once that has been established, you can proceed with the Primary survey with ABC’s which in acronym breakdown means A – airway, B – breathing, C – circulation.  The one thing that was OVER EMPHASISED with purpose was do not go into a scene unless you are safe first and to proceed with caution.  Which is such an important lesson to be aware of, if as a first aider your safety is compromised then who will really help when things authentically go pear shaped?   

Now, for my instructor review.  When I first walked through the doors Mohsin was there to greet all the students and to advise of the new protocols brought forth by the dreaded COVID 19 and how distancing would be maintained.  For our safety, everyone wore masks as well Lifesaver 101 had both face shields and plastic gloves on hand for all the students — to ensure we felt safe throughout the duration of the course.  I must admit, wearing that mask all day made me appreciate essential services workers on such a profound level as it was the first time I had to wear one for a prolonged period of time. The environment was so clean and personalised! Which brings me to my next paragraph…

One thing that Lifesaver 101 had done that I’d never experienced anywhere was literally put name tags on each desk with a laundry basket full of supplies to the side of our learning area.  Anytime a human being is acknowledged as being something other than a number — I tend to be riddled with gratitude. We reside in a world that constantly treats humans as though they are simply just another check or tick on a long list — I don’t believe that is a way to forge good business practices.  When I was acknowledged as a participant, I felt as though I had a voice during the class that counted and one that would be encouraged to participate throughout the day — as there were plenty of relevant discussions that occurred on Tuesday.  

As received!

Not, only that – remember the basket I mentioned by my desk? Well let me tell you, the first thing that I noticed when taking out the large triangular bandages was the aroma – they had been freshly laundered with a nice scent that genuinely made me feel as though I was back at home finishing up helping my son to fold the laundry.  That speaks to the character of Lifesaver 101, to ensure everyone had clean supplies in their own space with no cross contamination in the class. The thought of these little touches means everything, especially as our post lockdown world has metamorphosed into something new for everyone.

By the end of the day! 

Also, we were expressly told to not refer to individuals who require First Aid and CPR as the ‘victim’ or ‘patient’ but as the ‘casualty’.  I did not understand why until Mohsin explained it to us, as someone who comes on to an obscure scene there is no way of knowing the full and complete history.  The use of the word casualty is a tremendously better fit as it doesn’t take anything for granted – and helps us to maintain our safety in the back of our minds throughout a crisis.  Mohsin was quite knowledgeable and funny!  To be frank this is the first time I laughed so hard during a First Aid CPR course.  You know, I just realised the laughter genuinely helped to adhere the context to my cortex because, it no longer seemed like something I had to study but something that was actually fun to learn and discuss.  There were many accommodations made regarding COVID, as truly nothing will ever be the same again.

Nevertheless, I would highly recommend that if you live in the GTA and must sign up for a First Aid CPR requirement for your post or education to select Lifesaver 101.  And, don’t worry if you do not live in Durham Region, there are three other locations: Brampton, Sudbury, and Toronto!

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