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First aid course helps farmers in medical emergencies

Matthew Weaver

Capital Press

First aid training is a course being offered during the Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum. Washington state law requires first aid-trained personnel to be available in the absence of an infirmary, clinic or hospital nearby, says safety and health specialist Raymundo Rivas Jr. Instructor Mark Lidbeck advises people keep their wits in an emergency situation.

Instructor Mark Lidbeck will lead a first aid course for farmers at the Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum.

The Washington Department of Labor and Industries requires at least one person on any work site to carry a current first aid card, Lidbeck said.

The class will start at 3 p.m. Feb. 5.

Lidbeck has been teaching first aid to a wide variety of audiences for more than 30 years. He is based in Colbert, Wash.

Lidbeck comes from a farm background, so he said he finds it easy to relate to agricultural audiences.

“Whether people want to admit it or not, these guys have a really tricky job,” he said of farmers. “When they’re out there in the fields for hours on end, they’re hundreds and hundreds of yards away from anybody, maybe even miles. They need to have some basics just to take care of themselves if an emergency occurred.”

In the absence of having an infirmary, clinic or hospital in close proximity to the workplace to be used for treatment of injured employees, somebody needs to be adequately trained to provide first aid, said Raymundo Rivas Jr., safety and health specialist for the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, Labor and Industries’ workplace safety program.

L&I “frequently” finds people are not in compliance with the first aid requirement, Rivas said.

He advises farmers to read Washington state standards related to their specific industry and business.

Lidbeck’s lessons have come in handy. He’s heard from audience members who have put his teachings to good use.

“It happens all the time,” Lidbeck said. “Every other year I see pretty much the same people. Every second or third class, I get somebody who will come up and say, ‘My little baby choked and I was able to remember to do this and this.’”

Lidbeck’s cards are good for two years.

Lidbeck recommends people keep their wits in an emergency.

“It’s funny, when it comes down to brass tacks, how scary it can really be when you’ve got somebody’s life in your hands,” he said. “It’s really easy to see something and just kind of lose it.”

But Lidbeck hopes the students come away understanding how simple first aid can be.

The rules for first aid have changed over the years, most importantly bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation, developed by the American Heart Association.

“A lot of people are squeamish about putting their mouth on another person’s mouth,” he said. “If a person has blood or body fluids on their mouth, you don’t have a mask and time is critical, they want you to jump right in and push hard and push fast on the center of the chest until help arrives.”



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