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The need to learn First Aid/CPR in rural areas

Living in a remote or rural area has many challenges ranging from EMS service shortages, long response times, and lack of healthcare services including hospitals. Starting with the obvious EMS staffing issues. This is not just a local issue it is a national issue. But when you live in a rural area that has one ambulance service with 5 staff members that cover up to 7 towns or more based in a town of less than 700 year-round residents makes things difficult. The next closest ambulance is 45 minutes or more away when they are needed is part of the reason learning first aid/CPR is important. This brings us to the next issue.

The response times are extended to begin with in rural areas but when you have a 45-minute response time followed by the possibility of an hour or more transport time this changes things. We used to learn the golden hour as a rule for critical patients, especially in trauma this is now completely thrown out. Even locally this becomes an issue within the town limits because the closest hospital is roughly 40 miles in any direction. This and add in bad weather or prolonged extrication at an incident let alone if it is a mass casualty incident needing multiple agencies or facilities to receive patients especially the critically injured. This does not even include the remote areas where you can be several hours off pavement and the closest resource for EMS service can be that far or further away or again prolonged extraction from an area. This brings in new issues that include knowing your resources or having the skills to treat a patient for a prolonged period. But the distance and response time are only exacerbated by the next issue lack of medical facilities.

When discussing the lack of medical facilities it is not that there are not any facilities but the lack of trauma centers. For example, the closest level 2 trauma center is 2 hours away from the closest receiving facility. This is the issue means many times the patients are transported by air ambulance once stabilized and if a level 1 center is needed it might mean being transported by fixed-wing aircraft to as far away as Boston from northern Maine. I am certain this is not just an issue in rural Maine but in most rural or remote areas.

When living in an area that is a remote area the difference in being able to help and having the skills to do so can make a difference. The ability to know how to stop bleeding or to give an EpiPen and other important skills such as splinting not only can save a life but make the difference between an injury and a disability in the future. Take the time and learn the skills it might just save a life they might save yours. The rapid intervention with first aid and CPR does make a difference no matter where you are living in the city or in a remote rural community whether you are a friend, family member, or just someone passing by.

Train your life might depend on it.

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