Back in high school, there was the part of gym class that was no fun at all for anyone--CPR training. This was where a room full of students sat around putting the CPR dummies in compromising positions and whipping latex gloves at each other in a manner that was in no way erotic. Throughout all of this a hard luck gym teacher tried to get through the basic points that the geniuses in Albany required all of us to absorb in order to pass the class. In the end, if anyone actually collapsed in the hallway at school, they were pretty much doomed to be gawked at until a real paramedic showed up.
Last night, as part of our new workplace safety program, we were required to go through CPR training that took nearly four hours (fortunately, we ordered Chinese food). The instructor--a man who looked like a somewhat thinner version of the "comedian" Sinbad but with a thick Caribbbean accent--had an easier time than high school gym teachers, not so much because a room of thirty to forty year olds was more mature than high schoolers but more because we sort of wanted to learn how to use the AED devices (sort of like a defribillator) that we were going to be keeping on site. Just think of what one of those things would do if used on a laptop!
But what struck me most about the training was how much things have changed since we first learned basic lifesaving as kids. One thing I had absorbed from those childhood lessons was that if someone's choking, you do a sweep of the mouth and then the Heimlich--never smack their back. Now they teach us to alternate between Heimlichs and back pounds, and not to sweep the mouth with your finger lest you push the blockage further down the throat. Sort of makes me wonder what more will change in the future, when they determine that maybe the Heimlich isn't such a good idea after all, and tell us to smack the side of the head for some reason.
As for the videos giving us instruction, I have to say the characters were poorly developed and their acting range was weak--I just didn't feel they WANTED to save the victim. How nice would it have been to see the actors really fall into the role, using method acting techniques or classically trained stage techniques. They'll never make the big leagues at this rate!