In the world that we live in, it is important that as many people are trained in First Aid as possible. In the professions of law enforcement and private security, personnel from these fields should be trained and current in first aid, CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and AED (Automated External Defibrillators).
Why is it important?
As a private security and protective services company, we are surrounded by people on a daily basis. In many instances, we are the first on the scene; without focusing on the actual situation at hand, it can be as little as 5 minutes and as long as an hour before emergency medical personnel can arrive at our location. Having officers trained in first aid helps render aid to a medical casualty and attempt to keep them alive until emergency personnel is able to arrive. Keep in mind, it only takes about six minutes for the human brain to expire due to lack of oxygen.
Another issue that many people do not wish to talk about, is the ever-growing violence against others. In an active shooter scenario, for example, many times, emergency medical personnel are not able to advance to those injured until the scene as clear of the threat. Law enforcement and security personnel on scene are at least able to help stabilize victims until emergency medical staff are able to enter the area of operation.
Don’t force your employees to be certified.
Okay, this might seem odd for me to be compiling a page about First Aid, CPR and AEDs to then tell you not to force your employees into becoming certified and/or trained. Let’s face it, some people are cut out for this type of duty and some are not. There’s nothing wrong with that and no one should be told otherwise. Attempting to force your employees into First Aid, CPR and AED training and certification will only hurt you and your employee in the long run. Just that action alone and cause more harm than good and in the end, one of the things that are reinforced in training is to prevent further injury.
Besides, trying to force someone into that position just makes you look like a dick.
Stop Doing the Bare Minimum!
All too many times, we have seen private security companies and corporations attempt to skate by with the bare minimum equipment and proclaim that it will be enough. Often, their “first aid kit” is nothing more than a $25 kit of band-aids and cold compresses. While this may be okay for extremely minor cuts and scrapes, this will do absolutely nothing in regards to helping save a life.
Now, we are not telling you (or these companies) that you must purchase an expensive or over the top BLS (basic life support) and/or ACLS (advanced cardiovascular life support) bag(s), nor are we telling you that you should have a rolling ambulance in the trunk of your car. However, there are some things that should be purchased for those worst case scenarios and we will cover that below.
What should you have?
If you own a company or are operating one, especially if you are running a private security company, then listen up. If you are relying on those $25 department store “first aid kits”, chuck them off to the side, get your butt into gear, hop online (or visit a local medical supply business) and purchase the following gear/equipment.
Keep in mind that you can always add more to your kit that is not included in this list, but this is basically the bare minimum that you should have on hand.
- C-Collar – Also known as a Cervical collar or neck brace. This is a medical device used to support a person’s neck and help immobilize their head. They’re used when a neck and/or head injury is suspected. You’ll need at least 1 adjustable collar.
- Quick Clot – Quick Clot is a hemostatic agent designed to help stop bleeding quickly. It comes in a variety of mediums, but it is most commonly found in pads and rolled/folded gauze.
- Protective Gloves – Also referred to as medical gloves, disposable gloves or rubber gloves. The use of gloves is extremely important to help prevent infection, cross-contamination and protect against bloodborne pathogens (such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C). They help protect both the victim and the person giving first aid. Put several pairs in your kit! A box of 100 nitrile gloves only run around $10. Don’t be a cheapskate.
- Gauze – Stock lots and lots of gauze, both pads and rolls. Gauze can help prevent infection by keeping dirt and debris out of a wound, can absorb blood and can also help stop bleeding by either packing or combining with compression bandages.Gauze can also be purchased with an integrated antimicrobial agent in them, helping prevent infection and the growth of microorganisms.
- Adhesive Tape – Also known as medical tape or surgical tape. Although it is pretty obvious, adhesive tape keeps gauze and bandages in place while also helping to keep out dirt and debris.
- EMT Shears – Also known as rescue shears, trauma shears or tuff cuts. These are normally used to cut clothing from a victim, but let’s be honest here, these things will cut almost anything that you put in front of them.
- Burn Dressing – Your skin is literally the largest organ that your body is made up of and burns are nothing to be taken lightly. It is also imperative that you try to keep contaminants from entering the burn location as fast as possible to help prevent further risk to infection.
- Antibiotic Ointment Packets – Again, the use of antibiotic ointment is used to help prevent infection. If you haven’t caught onto one of the themes here, preventing infection is a serious matter.
- CPR Mask – Also known as a pocket mask or pocket face mask. These have either a built-in one-way valve or an attachable, disposable filter to protect the ’emergency responder’ from the patient’s potentially infectious bodily substances, such as vomit or blood. Didn’t really think about that, did you? Not exactly something that you see on prime time tv.
- Antiseptic Solution/Wipes – Antiseptic solutions help prevent the growth of microorganisms and help prevent infections. They’re available in both bottles of liquid and pre-moistened wipes/towelettes.
- Duct Tape – Also known as 100 MPH tape or duck tape. No this isn’t a joke or a gag to throw into the list. Duct tape can actually come in handy when the medical tape isn’t working to hold gauze in place or keep a certain amount of pressure on a wound (typically due to heavy bleeding). It can also be combined with everyday items to help secure/immobilize broken bones. To be honest, there really isn’t much that you can’t do with duct tape.
- Assorted Adhesive Bandages – Typically referred to by the brand name “Band-Aid”. Keep them on hand for all of the minor cuts and scrapes.
- Emergency Blanket – Typically made of Mylar material, these are used in emergencies to reduce heat loss in a person’s body caused by thermal radiation, water evaporation, and convection. They’re cheap, relatively small, lightweight and they work.
- Eye Flush – One of the biggest things that I see neglected in a kit is eye flush. Employers in factories and warehouses have them, but you don’t always see them in security companies and offices. Foreign objects in the eyes need to be flushed quick, you just can’t ‘put it off until later’ or even wait until you get to the ER.Even in an automobile accident, substances such as gasoline, diesel, engine oil, engine coolant, hydraulic fluids (such as brake fluid and power steering fluid), glass, plastic, rubber, dirt, sand, and even acid can be thrown onto the skin and into the eyes of the occupants.
- AED Machine – Automated External Defibrillator – An automated external defibrillator is a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart. The shock can potentially stop an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) and allow a normal rhythm to resume following sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). SCA occurs when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly. If not treated within minutes, it quickly leads to death.
Keep that last sentence in mind; MINUTES! According to the American Heart Association, “The heart must be “defibrillated” quickly because a victim’s chance of surviving drops by 7 to 10 percent for every minute a normal heartbeat isn’t restored”. While you may think that AEDs are expensive (at a cost of around $1400), you cannot wait around for EMS to arrive and expect the person in cardiac arrest will live. You also can’t expect to only have one AED on hand to cover a large commercial building, factory or office. Also, if you are a security company with patrol vehicles, you should have one serviceable and working AED in every vehicle.
After reading through this page, you may be thinking that this is overwhelming and too much stuff to get; to be honest, it really isn’t. Building a decent first aid kit (not including the price of the AED) will only set you back approximately $100 – $150. That is cheaper than dirt when compared to the cost of a life. Furthermore, don’t always assume that professional medical attention will be right around the corner because that may not always be the case.
We were trained to hope for the best and train for the worst case scenario. Other companies and yourself included should start doing the same thing.