I had brought to our training a printed first aid guide which I got during my third first aid course when taking the motorcycle drivers licence in Vienna back in 2007 (far right picture) and marvelled how technology changed our lives. What a difference do 10 years make! 2007 is coincidentially also the year when the first Iphone came on the market and thus revolutionized the way we interact, learn and communicate in general.
During the practical first aid exercises I realized though that new forms of communication did not improve how we act in situations of emergency. Quite on the contrary they seem to deterioriate our capabilites to react properly when we are really needed. The ICT flood of the past decade has no question created lots of new ways to communicate faster, but it has rendered man into a helpless wretched being. Since 2007 - my then third first aid class after one in 1994 for my general drivers licence and one in 1996 for my snowboard instructor licence - I have forgotten all practical measures which are relevant to save someone's life in the case of an emergency. I remembered the recovery position, but couldn't reproduce it safely. Would Jörn have been seriously injured along the spinal cord, I would have most likely rendered him paralyzed for the rest of his life. Neither did I remember what push-breath frequency is required for resuscitation. Do you? Its 30-2 for a duration of 2 minutes.
My bottom line here is the same which I have repeated already so many times when writing on education: we do not learn in our schools what really matters. Firist aid is similar to nutrition studies a subject of paramount relevance, but it is not even touched in standard curricula. Downloading the above mentioned apps helps us to learn faster and better, but they do not really help when fast action is required. Fast and confident action requires repetition and therefore first aid and emergency training should be a compulsory subject with compulsory practical and theoretical exams in every grade of compulsory and schooling and beyond.
And since we have been talking about physical first aid ... watch this TED talk by psychologist Guy Winch on emotional first aid. An equally neglected subject. Why?