So I spent this last Saturday in a room at the German Red Cross with a bunch of 18-year-olds learning all about First Aid. Why? Well, it’s actually a requirement in order to get my German drivers license.
What? I can hear your collective voices ask. Don’t you already have a drivers license?
Yes, but I have an American one……since I plan on living in Germany indefinitely, my US one is only good for six months. Unfortunately, it is not as easy as back in the states: walk into the BMV with the necessary paperwork and you get it!
I needed a translation, proof of taking a first aid course, an eye exam, photos, a signed document that states that this is really my license, a photo….
oh! And because I have an Indiana Driver’s License…..I will also have to take the written test. It’s times like these that I wish I actually got an Illinois one (for my time in Chicago) because then I wouldn’t have to take the test…..but at least I can take it in English!
Anyway, the First Aid course required that I sit for about seven hours on a Saturday and learn how to help people (not all scenarios pertained to cars or driving).
I was a little wary, new drivers (in Germany you can get your license at 18 not 16 like in the States) make me nervous….but to expect them to perform First Aid if I need it…..uh…….
Don’t get me wrong, I learned some useful tools and if I ever find myself in a situation where I need to pull someone out of a car before the gas tank explodes, I will be glad I learned what I did….but I am 28, not 18. I am a (somewhat) mature adult that realizes the importance of what I learned. I have also already taken First Aid back in the states. I was one of the First Aid folks for my work.
Now I am not saying that all the kids during the course were immature. My partner was a lovely young woman by the name of Elaine. She is definitey someone I would trust to make sure I was put in the properly prone position if she found me lying unconcious.
But I also don’t blame that it was also a smidge too long for the young folks. The last hour was pretty brutal. They were good for the most part but by the end they were giggling like morons and couldn’t focus. They’re 18 and it’s a Saturday, what do you expect?
I think it’s great the Germany has everyone take a First Aid course. Most of the stuff is quite simple and only requires basic common sense but even mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is something everyone should. In Germany, it’s considered your civic duty to help people in need. Obviously it is not a replacement for a medical professional but it is to help the victim have their best chance at survival as everyone waits for the medical professionals to arrive.
In the US, only the people who volunteer (whether personal or for work) get qualified for First Aid, but I honestly don’t think it’s enough. I don’t think you can have enough. But I feel like with the American obsession of suing anyone and everyone has given people pause. Why help someone if you get sued if something goes wrong? It happens; look at our doctors!
Anyway, I am glad I got to take First Aid a second time, I feel more confident with what I had learned before and I learned more things. I hope I never have to use them, but I hope that if the time comes then I will be ready.
What about you? Who have you have take First Aid?