Do have the safety training and skills to save a life? | Your Safety Department


Driving down the highway in a rural area of Arkansas I saw two boys up ahead playing in the ditch along the roadway. One had a look of shock while the other was behind him wrestling with him. I figured the older brother was getting the best of his sibling but in an instant, as my vehicle approached closer, I was able to discern what was really happening. The two boys were in a ditch filled with muddy water from the recent heavy rains. They were on top of a motorcycle whose handlebars had been twisted like a pretzel but, was laying on its side still running. The older boy was not wrestling his brother but, was behind him cradling and holding him above the water. The two boys had been riding the bike and hit a metal street sign just outside of their driveway. The youngest boy had been severely cut, to the bone, on his leg, something I would not see for a few more moments. It was a horrendous site and not one I could have imagined I would be finding myself in just 5 minutes before hand. 

I had been driving along the back roads of Arkansas enjoying the scenery of the Ozarks during the fall. Just passing time, listening to country music, taking the so called Sunday drive just to get out and clear my head. I was not even remotely prepared for what was about to happen but, luckily I had received some basic first aid training as a Boy Scout a few years before and the Scout Motto - "Be Prepared" - rang in my ears. But was I really?


After stopping my vehicle and setting my flashers I began an assessment (I didn't know that was what it was called at the time), and asked the first stupid question of the day, "are you ok?" I could clearly see that they weren't and dropping into the ditch I reached up and turned the motor off of the bike. For a brief moment the environment was quiet and only the splashing of the water was heard. Lifting and pulling on the boys along with the help of the older brother we found ourselves finally up the embankment when the younger boy shrieked in pain and in fear, he had seen his leg badly mangled, bleeding, and cut deep and wide. 

I had some towels in the vehicle and reached to grab them to at least try to control the bleeding on the leg (and perhaps in my mind to stop the young boy from having to gaze at his leg). The boy's home was just behind us about 300 yards back but, no one seemed to notice what was going on. While the older boy held his brother I made a dash to the house and began banging on the door frantically. The mother came out I explained what was happening and our need for more towels as well as calling for an ambulance to come to the site. She made the call, other family members started to jump in and, we all ran back to the ditch with the towels trying to stop the bleeding and to comfort they young boy while we waited for the ambulance.

I left shortly thereafter - kind of embarrassed with myself for having to rely on strictly instinct to handle the crisis. But, then maybe training is all about building into you that instinct so you don't freeze in the moment. You know instinctively what to do and do it. I like to think of myself as a thoughtful person before I go into any action. A crisis like this may not be the right time to be a thoughtful person and so I ask the question again - Could you save a life? Do you have the knowledge and skills to help others when they need you the most? Can you do it instinctively?

That is a big question, one that is often answered incompletely or even avoided.

Maybe a way to help you answer this question is by asking you a few more.

  • Have you had CPR, AED, and First Aid Training in the last 2 years? If not, what is it that is keeping you from getting the training or renewing your skills? $$ or Time is the wrong answer - I don't even want to hear it.

  • Do you have a first aid kit available to you within a reasonable distance in case an accident occurred? Where is it? And if no.....WHY NOT....they are inexpensive and essential.

  • Do you have sanitizing and disposal products, a CPR mask, and eye and hand protection available to you in order to protect yourself from bloodborne pathogens? Why not?

  • Do you even know what a bloodborne pathogen is? If no.....get the training and protect yourself.

  • Do you know how to operate an AED. If no.....get the training so that you can help others when they need you.

  • Do you know that survival rates increase by 62% to 98% when an AED is administered within the first few minutes of cardiac arrest?

  • Are you relying on others to protect you - do you know if they are trained? Are you sure you want their help?

  • Are you worried about helping others because of perceived liability? Do you know about Good Samaritan legislation that has removed any concern for liability?

My hope is that you will make an honest assessment of your own knowledge and skills and then seek to improve them.  None of us want to find ourselves in situations such as these but, not being prepared to deal with it if far worse when they occur. And in life, nothing is guaranteed. The life you save might be a neighbors, a co-worker, or even a family member.

If you would like to learn how to improve your CPR, AED and First Aid knowledge and skills please visit or call us at 888-859-5653 for more information.