First in First Aid
WELCOME TO THE SEPTEMBER EDITION OF FIRST IN FIRST AID!
You don’t have to be a student to experience back-to-school stress.
If you are a parent, you know – the shift back to a regular workweek schedule is jarring. Sleepy, grumpy kids are anything but pleasant, especially when you are juggling dozens of extra responsibilities that come with a weekday morning. Even if you do not have children at home, the shift back to the school year will still impact your routine. With five million more Canadians on the streets this month, expect more pedestrians and cyclists, denser traffic and longer commutes.
Making the switch to a new schedule is never easy. Too often, we wind up making hasty, dangerous decisions to accommodate our new fast-paced routine. Instead, we encourage you to prioritize your family’s health and safety as you leave your summertime schedule behind. A shortcut is not helpful if it puts you – or your loved ones – at risk. At St. John Ambulance, we make it easy to integrate safety into your daily routine. Simply read through this edition of First In First Aid, and arm yourself with the health and safety expertise you need to confidently take on the workweek!
In This Issue:
Back-to-School Safety: During the school year, you take on a variety of roles to ensure that every day runs smoothly. You play chef when you prepare your kids’ lunches, chauffeur when you taxi the tots to soccer practice, and tutor when they have homework trouble. When you are constantly switching between jobs, time becomes a luxury that we often cannot afford without shortcuts. Still, you should never cut corners where safety is a concern! After all, a leg up on your schedule is not worth an injury, for you or your child. Instead, efficiently integrate safety precautions into your workweek routine with St. John Ambulance! READ MORE
World Suicide Prevention Day - September 10th, 2019: Everyone feels a little down sometimes. It rarely takes longer than a few weeks to get out of a bad funk, but when it does, it may be a sign of a deeper psychological issue. In 2015 alone, an estimated 3.4 million Canadians aged 15 years or older experienced suicidal thoughts. Though resources are available to help these individuals through their trying times, few are willing to take advantage of them due to fear of being ridiculed for their illness. This World Suicide Prevention Day, (September 10th) we encourage you to check in on your loved ones if you suspect that they are considering suicide or are suffering from depression. One conversation is really all it takes to turn someone’s life around. READ MORE
World First Aid Day - September 14th, 2019: When medical attention is needed at the scene of a crisis, time is of the essence. For every minute that passes, a victim’s chance of survival drops substantially. Too often, we assume that emergency services will arrive within seconds of a call, but this is not always the case. Traffic, weather conditions and other safety hazards can make it difficult for paramedics to arrive at the scene of an emergency. When these situations arise, bystanders hold the most power to save lives, especially when trained to react. Still, only 37% of Canadians currently live in a household where someone is trained in first aid. This World First Aid Day (September 14th) – observed on the second Saturday of every September – we encourage you to sign up for a St. John Ambulance first aid course. The sooner you learn the lifesaving skills of first aid, the better – you never know when you will need to use them! READ MORE
The Magna Hoedown: There’s no need to book a flight down to the U.S.A. to enjoy Southern culture. On September 13th and 14th, the Magna Hoedown is returning to York Region for another weekend of foot-stomping fun. We encourage you to partake in the fun and support our activity in Ontario communities, along with nineteen other local charities. Learn more about the event today, and browse our ticket options here. We can’t wait to see you there! READ MORE
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During the school year, you take on many roles to make sure every day runs smoothly. You play chef when you prepare your kids’ lunches, chauffeur when you taxi the tots to soccer practice, and tutor when they have homework trouble. When you are constantly switching between jobs, time becomes a luxury that we often cannot afford without shortcuts. Still, you should never cut corners where safety is a concern! After all, a leg up on your schedule is not worth an injury, for you or your child. Instead, efficiently integrate safety precautions into your workweek routine with St. John Ambulance!
Slow and Steady Wins the Race – Driving Safety
Rush hour is no walk in the park, especially when you live in a suburban area. It becomes a greater hassle when the kids are back in school - an extra five million elementary and post-secondary students on the streets will certainly make for more frustrating commutes. Though it is tempting to drive aggressively to weasel your way through the gridlock and get to work on time, it puts yourself – and everyone else on the road – at risk. Instead, employ these safe driving tips to keep your cool amidst back-to-school commutes.
Before you get behind the wheel:
● Assess road conditions. Check the weather and traffic half an hour before you regularly leave. If road conditions are not ideal, consider leaving a little earlier to arrive on time.
● Plan an alternate route. When schools reopen, traffic on residential streets becomes far more chaotic. If your route to work involves side streets that could back up during the school year, consider planning an alternate route to bypass the traffic.
● Buckle up. Strap young children into car seats, and ensure that older ones have their seatbelts fastened before stepping on the gas. Also, be a good role model – buckle your own seatbelt too!
While you are on the road:
● Avoid distractions. Your focus should always be on the road when you are in the driver’s seat. Put your phone on silent, keep your hands on the wheel, and turn down the volume on the radio. If you have kids in the car, tell them to use their indoor voices.
● Obey the speed limit. When you are running late, it is tempting to push your pedal to the metal to reach your destination on time. However, speeding puts everyone in danger. Punctuality is not worth an accident on the road. Stick to the posted limit to avoid a hefty fine.
● Mind pedestrians. Hundreds of students in your communities will be walking to school this September. Always scan the area around your car for pedestrians when you are driving, especially around intersections. Check the crosswalks and sidewalks for children when you are turning too!
● Don’t park in the Kiss ‘N’ Ride. The pick-up and drop-off areas in schools is often not large, so don’t idle there for longer than it is necessary. Only stop briefly to let your kids in or out of the vehicle. Fellow parents will thank you!
Once you reach your destination:
● Check your gas tank. There is nothing worse than getting behind the wheel in the morning, only to notice that you have to fill up on gas – especially when you are already running late. When you get home every night, check your gas tank levels and assess whether you should refill. That way, you will never be caught scrambling for gas during rush hour.
● Make sure no one is in the back seat. When we are so preoccupied with our day-to-day tasks, we forget the things that matter most. Every year, dozens of children die after being left alone in a locked car. Always check the back seat for kids – or pets – before leaving your vehicle for peace of mind. A good tip is to place your purse or laptop bag on the floor in the back seat. That way, when you get out of the car, you will have to reach into the backseat before locking and leaving your car.
Tips for a Safe Walk to School
Kids don’t have the same reasoning ability that adults do. They act on impulse without foreseeing the consequences of their choices. Think about what happens when you offer a kids a giant piece of cake – they will devour the whole thing without worrying about the stomach ache to come! Their primitive reasoning is not a big deal when the end result is minor tummy troubles, but it is a big deal when their misjudgement could result in serious injury. It isn’t a stretch to imagine a child chasing a butterfly into the street, for instance, or wearing earbuds while crossing a busy street.
When we send our kids off to school on their own for the first time, they must be mature enough to understand the consequences of their actions and behave accordingly. Tell your children to follow these easy road safety rules before trusting them to make the walk on their own!
● Look both ways before crossing the street. Glance left, right, and left again to assess the traffic before stepping onto the road. If your kids are unsure of whether it is safe to cross, instruct them to err on the side of caution and wait for the oncoming car to pass.
● Don’t talk to strangers. No parent wants to think about it, but the chance of a predator preying on your child is still a valid concern. Teach your kids that it is okay to ignore strangers if they approach them on the way to school, and to tell you about the situation when they get home.
● Only cross at crosswalks or intersections. It is much less likely to get hit by an oncoming vehicle if your kids cross at designated areas. For added peace of mind, instruct your kids to cross with a crossing guard where one is available.
● Obey traffic signals at intersections. Even if there are no cars coming, your children should listen to traffic lights and crossing signals to avoid an accident. Remind them that they should only begin crossing the street when the walking man signal appears, not the flashing hand! If your kids are already on the road when the flashing hand appears, they should walk quickly to finish crossing the street.
Boarding the school bus is another issue that some kids have trouble with during back-to-school season. There are many opportunities for injury if your children are not careful. Teach them School Bus Safety with this handy infographic.
Safe School Lunches
It’s Monday morning and your family is rushing through their workweek routines. Then it hits you – you haven’t packed your child’s lunch yet! You scramble around the kitchen, throwing together some food you know your kid likes. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a container of grapes, and a carton of milk make it into a brown paper bag – nutritious and delicious. Stuffing them into your child’s backpack just before you all rush out the door, you mentally tick off another box on your checklist of morning chores.
At first glance, there is nothing wrong with the above meal. However, it is actually packed with food that could cause trouble in the classroom. The peanut butter and jelly sandwich could trigger another classmate’s food allergy, uncut grapes are choking hazards, and the milk could spoil after spending half a day in a warm backpack – especially if it was nearing its expiry date. Be mindful of these common concerns when preparing your child’s lunchbox!
Choking hazards: Many foods – nutritious or otherwise – are choking hazards for young kids. Think twice before sending any of these snacks to school:
● Small hard candies. Save these treats for your child to eat at home.
● Popcorn. It’s a common choking hazard, even for adults! Opt to send flavoured rice cakes instead if your children crave a crunchy snack.
● Baby carrots and hot dogs. When chopped, the round face is the perfect size to get stuck in a child’s esophagus. Instead, slice them lengthwise for peace of mind.
● Grapes and cherry tomatoes. Cut them in half to eliminate the choking hazard.
● Hard cheese. Slabs should be cut into slices or grated rather than chopped into blocks.
● Trail mix. Packed with choking hazards like seeds and raisins, this road trip snack is a no-no. Plus, it often contains peanuts, which are a common food allergen.
Allergens: An anaphylactic reaction in the classroom is avoidable with the correct safety precautions. Many schools in Ontario are now peanut-free because of the prevalence of peanut allergies amongst Canadian children. To stay safe, only pack peanut-free food with your child’s lunch. Also, if other students have serious food allergies, the school may have a ban on the offending allergen. Check with your child’s teacher before packing any food in his or her lunchbox.
Contaminants: Your children’s lunch will likely be kept at room temperature, where it may be a breeding ground for bacteria if it is not stored correctly. If you are sending food that would ideally be refrigerated, pack it in an insulated lunchbox with ice packs keep it cool. For food that needs to be kept hot, use a good quality insulated container, like a Thermos, to maintain its temperature.
Everyone feels a little down sometimes. A nasty break-up, a stressful day at work, or even a missed train can make us feel like the odds simply aren’t in our favour. Thankfully, it doesn’t take long to get out of a bad funk. Some of us use music to calm down, while others have a go-to friend ready on speed dial. But when overwhelming sadness lasts longer than a few weeks, it may be a sign of a deeper psychological issue.
In 2015 alone, an estimated 3.4 million Canadians aged 15 years or older experienced suicidal thoughts. Though resources are available to help these individuals through their trying times, few are willing to take advantage of them. Many fear being ostracized because of their illness, especially when the stigma surrounding mental health issues is still prevalent in our society. To avoid sticking out from the crowd, they often hide behind a smile and internalize their sadness.
The first step to recovering from any mental illness is admitting that you have a problem, and that is difficult when sufferers are afraid of being ridiculed for their problems. That is why if you have the slightest inkling that your loved ones are suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts, you should voice your concern to them. By lending an ear, you offer them with a chance to acknowledge their issues and seek help.
To lessen the stigma surrounding depression and to encourage sufferers of suicidal thought to come forward and seek treatment, we observe World Suicide Prevention Day every September 10th. This year’s theme is “Working Together to Prevent Suicide”, urging the public to start the conversation with a loved one if you feel that they are suicidal and require help. This World Suicide Prevention Day, we encourage you to check in on your loved ones if you suspect that they are considering suicide or are suffering from depression. One conversation is really all it takes to turn someone’s life around.
Talking to your loved ones about mental illness may be a daunting task, especially if you are unfamiliar with the subject. What signs should you look out for to recognize mental illness? How should you approach a conversation with a suicidal loved one without scaring them away? St. John Ambulance can help with that. We’ve put together a guide to help make the process easier, with tips from the Canadian Association of Mental Health.
Want to learn more about responding to mental health crises and other first aid emergencies? St. John Ambulance can help. Sign up for our Mental Health First Aid course today!
When medical attention is needed at the scene of a crisis, time is of the essence. For every minute that passes, a casualty’s chance of survival can drop substantially. Too often, we assume that emergency services will arrive within seconds of a call, but this is not always the case. Traffic, weather conditions and other safety hazards can make it difficult for paramedics to arrive at the scene of an emergency. When these situations arise, bystanders hold the most power to save lives.
That is where first aid comes in. First aid is any basic medical treatment administered immediately following an injury. When we think of first aid, standard first aid usually comes to mind – think small wounds like minor burns and scrapes. When administered during an emergency, however, first aid can be a lifesaver. Its primary purpose at the scene of a crisis is to keep casualties stable until professional medical attention is available. The skills associated with first aid are not complicated, but they do require some training to master.
Still, only 37% of Canadians currently live in a household where someone is trained in first aid. This is critically low – it means that bystander first aid is not available in over eight million Canadian homes. As leaders in first aid and safety education, St. John Ambulance believes that the more people who are trained in first aid, the safer our communities will be. This World First Aid Day – observed on the second Saturday of every September – we encourage you to sign up for a St. John Ambulance first aid course. The sooner you learn the lifesaving skills of first aid, the better – you never know when you will need to use them!
What’s the difference between the Standard and Emergency First Aid course? Which one should I choose?
Our Emergency First Aid course covers basic information required to emergencies that are common in the household. Examples include respiratory emergencies, heart attacks and strokes. The course takes at least 6.5 hours of instructional time, and is available with A or C level CPR.
Our Standard First Aid course covers all the same material in our Emergency First Aid course, plus more information to handle complex emergency scenarios. It includes information required to treat bone or joint injuries, seizures, poisoning, spinal injuries, and more. The course takes at least 13 hours of instructional time, and is available with A, C or BLS-HCP level CPR.
We recommend the Standard First Aid course to be prepared for as many emergency scenarios as possible. However, if you are getting trained to help your workplace be WSIB compliant, minimum requirements vary depending on how many employees are in your workplace per shift. If five or less workers are in the office at any given time, then the Emergency First Aid course meets WSIB standards. Otherwise, Standard First Aid is required to keep your workplace safe.
Do all Standard and Emergency First Aid courses come with CPR training? What kinds of CPR training do you offer?
Yes, all our Standard and Emergency First Aid courses come with a CPR module instructing students how to properly administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). We offer three types of CPR modules:
● CPR-A: This module covers the procedure to resuscitate adults who have suffered cardiac arrest.
● CPR-C: This module covers the procedure to resuscitate adults and children who have suffered cardiac arrest.
● CPR BLS-HCP: This module is designed for those who work in the healthcare sector. It discusses advanced techniques for two-person CPR, both for adults and children.
Standard and Emergency First Aid courses cover physical injuries well. What about mental health crises?
Mental health awareness has grown substantially over the past decade, and we have updated our first aid courses to include training that supports this. Earlier this year, we integrated Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) modules into our Standard and Emergency First Aid courses. In the MHFA module, we teach students how to respond to mental health crises and refer those who require further assistance to the relevant mental health resources.
We also offer Mental Health First Aid courses, which only cover mental health crisis response. Two versions are available – one is the basic version, while another focuses on senior care. The latter also covers techniques to promote mental health amongst senior citizens, and how to intervene early when problems emerge.
Do you offer first aid courses that are specific to different occupations or interests?
Yes, we do! Here are just a few of them:
● Marine Basic First Aid: Nationally-recognized certificates that meet training standards for Marine Medical Care and Marine First Aid.
● Medical First Responder: Designed for those who work in high risk industries, like emergency response.
● Standard First Aid – Mine Rescue: Meets WSIB requirements as well as Labour Regulations for mining.
● Wilderness First Aid: Perfect for people who live, work and play in the Canadian wilderness. Covers casualty care when paramedics will take longer than usual to reach the scene of an emergency.
Do you offer online first aid courses?
We offer a variety of online courses in addition to our in-branch programs. However, all first aid courses are required to have an in-class component. As such, we offer Blended First Aid training that combines online modules with hands-on training.
I am purchasing first aid training for my workplace. Do you offer bulk discounts?
Yes, we do. When you purchase 6 or more training accounts, you will automatically get a discount. For more information, please contact our support team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When choosing a provider of first aid training, remember that St. John Ambulance is the only provider of first aid that is recognized nationwide, in all provinces and territories. We are leaders in the industry, and we have been keeping Canadians safe for over 135 years. Book a course with us in person, online, or over the phone with us. Learn first aid today, save a life tomorrow.
There’s no need to book a flight down to the U.S.A. to enjoy Southern culture this September. Instead, Magna Corporation – the Canadian-based international car parts manufacturer – is bringing beer, barbecue and all things country to you! On September 13th and 14th, the Magna Hoedown is returning to York Region for another weekend of foot-stomping fun. On Friday, watch finalists for the Hoedown Showdown – an Ontario-wide country music competition – perform while you enjoy southern fare from the Food Trucks & Craft Beer Festival. The following day, the party continues with line dancing and dinner, along with the crowning of the 2019 Hoedown Showdown winner. Plus, acclaimed country artists like Alan Doyle and the James Barker Band will be performing all weekend long!
Ticket sales contribute directly towards twenty local charities, including St. John Ambulance. There is also the Prospector’s Raffle – All raffle ticket sales proceeds go to the 20 Magna Hoedown recipients. The Prospector’s Raffle has a grand prize of $100,000; second prize $10,000; third prize $5,000. Tickets are 3 for $20 and the winning tickets will be drawn on September 14th. Tickets are available through the St. John Ambulance York Region Branch 905-773-3394. Lottery License #10914.
We encourage you to partake in the fun and support our activity in Ontario communities. Learn more about the event today, and browse our ticket options here. We can’t wait to see you there!
At St. John Ambulance, we strive to inform everyone about the simple habits and safety precautions hat can make our communities safer every day. That’s why we hope you learned something valuable from this month’s September edition of First In First Aid! If you only take one thing away from this newsletter, let it be this; learning first aid is a valuable skill that can help save lives. If everyone learned basic first aid – like the signs of a stroke or the technique required to perform CPR – our communities would be safer as a whole. It’s why we provide affordable first aid and safety education for as many Ontarians as possible. Of course, this would not be possible without the massive contributions of time and effort from over 12,000 volunteers and donors who work with us across the province, and even more donors. Thank you for supporting our cause – your efforts help us make Ontario a safer place for everyone!