In January 2020 we asked our past customers and subscribers to complete a short survey about their medical training and preparedness. We felt this data would be valuable as we start our “Trauma Care Summit” event which is basically a free series of training videos we are rolling out in February 2020. (Register Here)
Many of the results were surprising, but stick with me through the end of this article because a few stories emerge that are very important.
If for any reason you would like to complete this survey for yourself if you have not yet done so, you can take it, here.
Total Survey Stats:
Number of Questions: 4 or 6 depending on one's response to the first question
Completion Rate: 97.2%
Average Time to Complete: 1:47
Question 1: Have You Ever Received Any Formal First Aid and/or Emergency Medical Training?
If you think about it this probably rings true for most of us. After all, you probably have received some training when you were younger in a school class, in the boy scouts, or even as an adult as part of your job.
The American Heart Association and the Red Cross have made it even easier to find local training classes at an affordable price. Last month I personally paid $35 for a Red Cross online First-Aid class that ran 2 hours and 45 minutes and was completed from my computer.
You also have the Stop The Bleed campaign which has spread across the US quickly with wide support from our industry and offers free and low-cost training options as well.
Question 2: How long ago did you receive training (most recently):
This surprised me. I didn't expect such a large portion of our audience to have received formal training so recently. A combined 44.3% that have received some formal training even say their most recent training was 3 or less years ago.
A combined 35% haven't had any training for at least 10 years.
A combined 55.3% haven't had any training for at least 4 years. This is the closest we can come to splitting the results in half. A little more than 1/2 of respondents haven't had any training in the last 4 years and for more than half of those, it has been over 10 years.
Question 3: Have you received any of the following training or certifications?
This is where the “Story” really starts to develop for me. 80.6% have first aid certifications and 88.1% have CPR certifications. That makes sense since organizations like the Red Cross, American Heart Association, and Boy Scouts primarily focus on basic first aid and CPR training.
Beyond CPR and First-Aid there aren't a lot of common, civilian-accessible training options that really focus on more serious trauma and injury. If someone is injured in a serious car crash, or from a gunshot, or any number of other serious situations they are likely in need of some serious trauma care.
CPR certainly is a valuable skill to have but the point here is that while 80% of people have received formal training the VAST MAJORITY of that training is basic first aid and CPR.
Question 4: Have you ever been present at a medical emergency before first responders arrived?
Of all the questions in the survey, the answers to this one surprised me the most. I have a hard time believing that only 65% of people have ever been present at a medical emergency where they could have administered aid before the professionals arrived.
After all, haven't most of us been in (or at least driven past) a major car accident before EMTs arrived? I suspect we would have done better to ask the question differently. For example what percentage of people would have said yes if I had asked: “Have you ever been to the emergency room?”
Perhaps we just don't really think about these situations because they feel normal or perhaps the way each of us would define “emergency” is different … or maybe I just way overestimate how many of us have been there.
Question 5: Do you regularly have emergency medical gear and/or equipment:
Another question which is a little too vague to be clear. How many people who took this survey would count ANY first-aid kit as qualifying. I would believe that 80% of people have a basic first aid kit in the home and 62.7% have one in their car. Sadly a basic first aid kit with bandaids, aspirin, and a few pieces of gauze don't really help in a major emergency with serious blood loss.
That said, I'm actually elated to see that almost 19% of people have some sort of medical kit on their person regularly. That is better than I expected.
Question 6: Which of the below procedures, conditions, or emergencies do you feel comfortable performing or addressing with your current level of training and knowledge
The self-reported abilities of our audience are relatively high for the use of tourniquets and performing CPR. This makes sense to some degree, however I wonder how their self-reported comfort aligns with actual training and ability.
For example, in training classes when I ask someone to apply a tourniquet I generally find that while most understand the basic concept enough to get the tourniquet on and apply some pressure many fail to actually do it properly.
Also worth noting, is the low percentage of people who feel comfortable with the use of a chest seal, a hemostatic dressing, or caring for someone with head trauma.
Ask Yourself These Questions
In summary, you may not be average but given the odds of needing, or being able to, save someone's life in a critical incident I encourage you to pause for a moment and self-reflect on these questions:
- Am I up to date on the latest advances in medical technology, gear, and application? This is an ever-evolving space and even the most highly trained professionals can struggle to keep up with the latest techniques and research. Am I due for a refresher?
- Training aside, do I have major trauma kits/gear staged in the places where I'm most likely to need them? If I have a kitchen fire I don't want to run to the opposite side of the house to get a fire extinguisher. For that reason, I should have a trauma kit staged in various strategic places in my home, in each car, and to the best of my ability on or near my person at all times. This is different from a first aid kit that gets regular use. A trauma kit is staged for major emergencies and to ensure it has what you need it shouldn't be regularly accessed, moved, or picked through.
- Do my loved ones and the people I care most about have a proper amount of training as well? If you are the one injured or if your loved ones are injured when you are not around; their skills and training become extremely critical.
I encourage you to register for our 13-day, NO-COST training summit. You have nothing to lose regardless of your current level of training and skills.