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May 15, 2015

CPR Training (Thailand-Myanmar)

May 15, 2015 | By |

In my last 15 years of working in Thai rescue service I have always been confused and concerned about the fact that CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) was not part of the First Aid, or First Responder (FR) courses here.

Learn and Practice CPR

I have participated in training of rescue workers, as part of rescue organisations curriculum, for the last 10 years and have always tried to encourage them to include CPR but to no avail. Like many things in Thailand I always try to find ways to circumnavigate blocks to what I consider progress and the way I started to do this in this situation was to post videos of CPR online and also when attending jobs, would always do CPR when appropriate and sometimes even when I was 99% sure that there was no chance of recovery. The reason for me doing this was to give rescue workers a chance to practice or at least view CPR in a real world application. In later years I also did this with AED’s (Automated External Defibrillator’s) which to my surprise where shrouded in mystery and uncertainty in Thailand, many believing it was illegal to use them at all! Like so many things in Thailand, laws, by-laws, and general literature has always been vague about AED’s and so it is not surprising that many people, including rescue workers shied away from them. I myself chose a fully automated AED to use because I could never get uniform answer from authorities concerning them. By using a fully automated AED I tried to protect myself from any obscure laws that may prevent laypeople or rescue workers from using one, I planned to simply say that the AED was 100% automated and if there were any failures in the system then the manufacturer would be to blame, I was only a “facilitator”.
Over the years I would teach CPR to my friends/team-members without the use of dummies and then on the job would encourage them to perform it under my supervision. Many of my team-mates would pick it up easily and were able to use it effectively. I saw online that many other rescue workers were using CPR but to varying degrees of effectiveness. Many of the protocols and basic practices were missing from the techniques they used. In 2014 I contacted Red Cross Thailand (TRC) to get my team members certified but after a series of cancellations and rejections by TRC I was finally forced to give up which really disappointed me. I am still not sure why TRC has been so unhelpful concerning something that they actively promote in other countries. I searched for other organisations which may help but everyone was asking for money to train people (including TRC). The Bangkok Free Ambulance (BFA) believes in free healthcare as well as free training for volunteers and others so this was not an option.

A sponsor saved our life

Finally in 2015, I found a sponsor, a Swiss man by the name of Daniel Uebersax and his company Santémed came to our rescue in the form of donations of professional CPR dummies which are surprisingly expensive, up to 100,000 baht for one dummy! So finally we were able to have clear concise CPR courses and students could practice on realistic state of the art dummies which showed their performance in real time. Over the past few months I have taught anyone that was even remotely interested in learning, to date I have taught over 200 people from age 6 to 60! I have recently obtained my CPR training certificate and can now offer students official international CPR certification.

I have a dream

My goal is to offer CPR training to every rescue worker and anyone else that is interested throughout Thailand and Myanmar. I realise that this is an impossible task for myself without help from others and my plan is to one day become a trainers trainer, meaning I can certify people to become trainers. Hopefully this will happen by next year enabling me to certify rescue workers all over Thailand and throughout the many different rescue groups. In the last 2 years we have been working with newly formed rescue groups in Myanmar and later this year hope to have several CPR training centre’s throughout Myanmar.

But

The biggest obstacle for establishing training centers was the cost of the equipment. Regular CPR dummies are ok for practicing but for testing, more advanced dummies that register effective compressions and breaths are invaluable, even for experienced CPR practitioners. The need for sponsors is essential for the success of this project. Presently we have only one set of dummies which includes 4 practice dummies and 1 LED test dummy. For each center a set such as this would cost about 150,000 baht. For Thailand I think that it may be possible for people to find local sponsors but in Myanmar this may be much harder to find and so my first aim is to establish 4 centers across Myanmar at places where we already work with local volunteers; Myawaddy, Mandalay, Nawpyitaw, and Yangon (Twanty). Luckily these places are spaced perfectly across Myanmar and so can be center’s for their provinces and hopefully promote CPR and First Aid all over Myanmar.

If you or your organisation are interested in supporting any of these center’s in Thailand or Myanmar then please contact me. We really need your help. bkkfreeambulance@hotmail.com