First aid speaker: Consider worst-case scenario

A volunteer watches as Mark Lidbeck demonstrates the proper way to bandage an arm injury during a previous first aid presentation.

Mark Lidbeck, who has been teaching first aid and CPR courses for 40 years, returns to the Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum again this year.

"I'm too young to retire, I'm only 72, and I love what I do," Lidbeck told the Capital Press.  "I'm old school, I think common sense is 99 percent of it." 

Lidbeck recommends farmers look at the potential for accidents and injuries at any given moment and think of ways to avoid them.

He also recommends staying calm in case of an emergency.

"It's human nature to panic a little bit,"  he said. "But once you start, if you're trained and have a little experience, it just takes over."

Lidbeck also works as a consultant to help conduct asbestos surveys, inspecting and testing materials that are not wood, glass or metal during renovations or demolitions.

Safety is in Libeck's background. He was a safety specialist at a veterans hospital. He began as safety director for a large grocery store chain. He didn't like the training program, so he wrote his own course and had it approved by the state Department of Labor and Industries and the American Heart Association.

Washington law requires agricultural operations to make sure personnel trained in first aid are available to provide a "quick and effective" response to an accident.

Lidbeck also highlights choking hazards and changes to CPR techniques. The biggest, he said, is that a person no longer has to breathe for a victim unless they're a medical professional.

"All we're asked to do, basically, is call for help and push hard and push fast on the chest," he said. "The Good Samaritan Act provides that, as long as you stay within the scope of your training, you're OK, you're covered."

Lidbeck adjusts his presentation for the audience, whether it's for car dealerships, colleges, daycare centers, public service organizations.

Lidbeck has a farming background, growing up on a beef and dairy farm near Bellingham, Wash.

He said he sees many farmers each year at the Expo.

"I'm sure these guys have seen it all and done it all," he said. "But if they can glean one little thing that, in that emergency situation, might save a hand or save a life or something ... it's been worth it."

Field Reporter, Spokane

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