Written by Ryan Fowles, Utah
As an Eagle Scout, I was required to learn life-saving skills as part of the first aid merit badge many years ago. When I was 11 or 12 years old, my cousin and I took the first aid class in Gunnison, Utah at the LDS stake center. I remember learning CPR and hoped I would never have to use it. Fortunately, the procedure for CPR had always stayed with me – even as an adult.
A couple years ago my cousin, had to give CPR to a man that collapsed on his farm while loading up some hay. After talking with my cousin about his experience he shared how the paramedics on the phone walked him through proper CPR procedure. In fact, I learned recently that CPR guidelines are updated every two years! Here’s the latest in AHA guidelines.
Many years later in college I was eating lunch and the thought hit me to head to class early. As I rounded a corner of the PE building I saw Professor Baker on the ground and another student, Jacob Probert, checking for vital signs. My first thought was "this is a great place for a teacher to set up a dummy for students to practice CPR." I figured it was some practice drill and did my best to stay out of the way, but as I got closer I noticed that Professor Baker wasn't a training dummy and something was wrong. Jacob told me that the professor didn't have a pulse and he began compressions. My training kicked-in. The decision to help wasn't a question as I positioned myself to give breaths when necessary. I didn't have anything to wipe his mouth off with or a breathing barrier, but as his life was in danger, I proceeded with mouth-to-mouth. It all worked like clockwork.
Several minutes into CPR another student, Jared Wenn, and an off-duty EMT showed up with emergency equipment. Jared and the off-duty EMT helped Jacob with chest compressions while I continued rescue breaths. When the paramedics got there they took over and I continued on to class. I was relieved to later learn that our actions had saved Professor Baker’s life.
Reflecting on that experience, I often think of the quote from Spider Man which says "With great power comes great responsibility." I believe that knowledge is a form of power. I was raised to take on responsibility and was taught to work hard and get the job done. I am glad that I had the knowledge to help another person in their time of need. I have been called a hero, but I'm far from that. The only people I hope to hear that I am a hero from are my children. How can they see me as a hero if I don't take on responsibility and become the best person I can be?
I believe it is in everyone's best interest to be trained in first aid skills, including CPR, and be willing and able to use them when the need arises.