The life-saving benefits of knowing safety procedures

Alex Appel, News Editor

The college is very concerned about problems that arise from drinking, especially at Greek events.

If this is not obvious from the number of rules in place that govern how drinks can be distributed and consumed at Greek parties, then the mandatory seminars that sororities and dry fraternities alike have to attend despite not being allowed to host events where alcohol is served is evidence enough.

While the concern over drinking is founded and efforts to address this problem are well intentioned, there is one very basic thing that is overlooked when discussing how to make the campus more safe: basic first aid training. Specifically, training in the heimlich maneuver and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR.

The heimlich maneuver is a first aid procedure that relies on abdominal thrusts to dislodging obstructing a person’s windpipe. This is one of the most effective ways to prevent a conscious person from choking.

The method itself consists of one person wrapping their arms around someone who is choking, placing one fist above the choking person’s navel and below their ribcage, covering that first with their other hand, and then pulling their hands directly back and under the ribcage of the choking person.

This is theoretically simple, however complications can easily arise.

One risk is when people cannot properly recognize the signs of serious choking and may administer this technique to someone who either does not need assistance, or needs other forms of assistance.

Another is the improper placements of hands that can result in the breaking of a choking person’s ribs.

CPR is an emergence procedure that occurs when a person’s heart stops beating. When someone’s heart stops beating, emergency services should be contacted immediately.

Students should not be expected, nor expect themselves, to save anyone’s life in these situations. However, according to the American Heart Association, delivering chest compressions can keep blood flow active or partially active, which “extends the opportunity for a successful resuscitation once trained medical staff arrive on site.”

CPR, like the heimlich maneuver, is not as intuitive as people may think it to be.

Our culture saturates us with examples of these emergency procedures being implemented incorrectly on television, in movies, in commercials and more mediums.

These improper examples give us biases and incorrect expectations of what first aid should look like and what results should be, making it harder for people to properly respond in situations where these treatments are warranted.

Not every Greek Organization serves alcohol. Almost every single one will have some event where there is food or beverages present.

Not everyone who goes to Greek events drinks alcohol. Almost everyone at an event will at one point will eat or drink something.

Choking risks are a very real concern. While the risk of heart attacks and other causes for CPR are less common on campus, it is still an invaluable skill to know.

Even outside of Greek Events, if members of Greek Life learn CPR then there are more people walking around campus who know first aid and CPR, meaning there are more people who will be trained not only to respond to emergency situations, but stay calm in them.