Category Archives: Damage Control

Lessons learned: first-aid and CPR

Recently I had to take a first aid and CPR class to satisfy requirements at work, and the class that worked out for my schedule was put on by the Red Cross. The last couple of times I have taken this class it was put on by a private instructor who came to the ship, so it has been around 6 years since I took the class through the Red Cross. Boy, how things have changed!

The first thing I noticed is that the class is mostly done on the Internet. You pay for the course, then receive a username and password that allows you to log into the Red Cross website. Then once you have an account, you can take several short courses that all come together with a test at the end. After you pass the test, you receive a certificate that you then take to a class where you do the “hands on” side of things.

Taking the class online was ok, it allowed me to learn at my own pace and go back if I didn’t understand something but as I went along I realized that the content was very lacking, very different than it was 10 years ago.

When I went into the “classroom” to do the practical portion of the class, it started out ok, we had to show them that we could do the chest compressions and rescue breaths properly, but when it came to the first aid portion of the class I was really disappointed. The whole course had a “call 911” theme that is not new, but this go around it was worse than ever before. When it came to first aid the logic was to put a dressing on it and go get help, or “call 911!”

Since I took this class to fulfill a US Coast Guard requirement for sea duty, it seems strange I would be taking a class that recommends I do something that isn’t possible. When the class was over, which I passed of course, I asked the instructor what the deal was. She told me that all CPR and first aid classes are like this now, and that if I wanted more first aid, I would have to take the “wilderness first-aid class”. Funny, but now I know, right?

The purpose of this post is to let all of you know, that if you spend time in places that aren’t easily accessible to an ambulance, you should get some medical training and learn from my mistake, skip the basic CPR and first aid class and go straight to a wilderness first aid class.

The Mexican Band-aid

The first article in a series I have written here at Atlastrekker on Damage Control is on the Mexican Band-aid. In this series I’ll explore different ways to deal with problems that come up in various situations. Some of these will be specific to one thing or another, and some will be somewhat general. The Mexican Band-aid is one of coolest tricks that I’ve learned in my time at sea, because it works good and is quick to implement. What better attributes could you ask for in your damage control kit?

The reason why we call it a “Mexican Band-aid” is because this is the trick that many of the Mexicans who bring us water for the ship use to connect hoses from their water trucks to our ship. Whatever works, right?