This year, MEDIC First Aid celebrates its 40th anniversary, and what a lifesaving ride it’s been.
In September 1976, a member of the Multnomah Athletic (MAC) Club in Portland, Oregon suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and did not survive. Wanting to improve the process of managing medical emergencies, the club contacted a local ambulance service to see how they could work together.
Multnomah Athletic Club Program Supervisor Maryl Barker and Buck Ambulance Service Paramedic Peder Heineman joined forces to implement a detailed system for dealing with medical emergencies at the club. Under their leadership:
- An emergency medical plan was developed
- The staff was trained in CPR and first aid
- Physician MAC members were provided with treatment guidelines
- A defibrillator, oxygen tank and advanced medical kit were purchased for use
With a goal of teaching others to respond quickly and effectively to a medical emergency to help an ill or injured person, Barker and Heineman started a new consulting company. Emergency Medical Planning (EMP) was created to help businesses develop and implement emergency medical plans. Along with those plans came a new and innovative, EMS-based first aid curriculum.
The new MEDIC First Aid training program followed an EMS approach to patient care through advocating a continuity of care concept between lay and advanced providers. Combining CPR and first aid into a one-day course, and eliminating written testing, made the program unique in the community and workplace.
The seven basic skills of the program were taught using the “Footlocker,” a traveling case of 650 slides. The simplified training contained within those slides was built on a “Seeing, Hearing and Doing” philosophy and an integrated psychology of patient care. Skills were taught in a logical, sequential manner, and the program relied on an assessment-focused approach throughout.
The classes themselves offered a low-stress environment that made it easy for students to learn and, most importantly, remember what they learned when it mattered the most. Building “the confidence to respond” has been part of the MEDIC First Aid story from the very beginning. For those students who went on to use their emergency care skills, a Good Samaritan Award was offered in recognition.
MEDIC First Aid won its first major recognition when the program was approved by U.S. Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Over time, more regulating bodies recognized and granted approval to these curriculum-based programs, and more companies chose MEDIC First Aid to help them stay in compliance and keep their workers safe.
All of us at HSI are so proud of the MEDIC First Aid training centers, instructors and students who today still carry on that 40-year tradition. Thank you for making a lifesaving difference in our workplaces and communities around the world.