This past Thursday we celebrated Thanksgiving, one of the most beloved American holidays. It happens to be also my favorite holiday, a time to cook to my heart’s content and to get together with family and friends to share wonderful dishes together. This year however, because of the tireless work of Equal First Aid, I became painfully aware of the need to emphasize the fact that people with disabilities, in particular those who use a wheelchair, don’t have easy access to first aid if they are choking.
This year, I couldn’t avoid thinking about all those instances when a wonderful family occasion, whether it’s Thanksgiving or any other get-together, could result in unforeseen consequences. This is particularly true for people in wheelchairs. It is for this reason that the organization Equal First Aid is advocating for first aid that addresses this situation. Choking is one of those emergency situations that not only requires training, but also necessitates certain positioning that would be nearly impossible to accomplish in a few seconds if the choking victim is in a wheelchair. The Heimlich maneuver is not as easy as it may seem for some people given certain personal circumstances, or for people in wheelchairs, in the case of a choking emergency.
A few weeks ago, when I had the pleasure of meeting with the people of Equal First Aid, we discussed what can be done in our immediate community to change this reality and make sure that everyone has access to lifesaving measures. I thought that by contacting people that I knew and worked with, who wholeheartedly believe in equal opportunities for all, and making them aware of this situation, it would be easy to get this rectified.
To my surprise, I found that people are either not interested or skeptical about changing the status quo. I am not sure why, but it looks as if first aid is not a priority in people’s minds. Perhaps it’s the kind of issue that nobody wants to think about because there are no easy answers, and it is just too painful. But it doesn’t have to be!
LifeVac has been producing airway clearing devices for a few years now. They are providing the answers to the tough questions we all must answer regarding equality in first aid. Airway clearing devices are very simple to use and work for EVERYONE, including those of us who have difficult applying and receiving the Heimlich maneuver. Anyone who has every operated a plunger can operate this device.
Do you want to see this device in action? Check out this video here of this family who experienced a choking emergency with their baby at a restaurant. I promise it will make you think twice about first aid. Do you want to know more about Equal First Aid and their mission? Check them out here. Do you want to have this difficult conversation about something we should all make a priority? Check out the LifeVac device right here.
Give the gift of life this holiday season! Give yourself peace of mind!