In preparation for our 5,000 kilometer ride, it was suggested that Suzie and I take an “Emergency First Response” course while in Korea. Granted that we doubt and hope our training will be needed while on our cycle tour, we felt that it was better to be safe than sorry. After all, having never taken on a challenge of this magnitude, and since we really are relatively new to cycling; you never know what kind of situations we might be faced with. Barring any difficulties being attacked by a pack of wolves with a taste for man-flesh, I feel confident that our class adequately prepared us to care for each other in an emergency.
We signed up for the EFR course a few months in advanced through “Deep Blue Quest.” Deep Blue Quest is a PADI 5-Star Dive Center located just north of Seoul. From Bundang in the early hours of Saturday morning, it only took us about an hour to get there by car. We took the course alongside our friends Jared, Katie E., and our teammate Katie T. They have been our bike gurus for the past year, so it seemed fitting to continue our training with them as we prepared for our own adventured. Jared and Katie E. are setting out on a Turkey tour in April and we expect to spend some time with them in Istanbul before setting out on our trip.
Our instructor’s name was Russell Krogh and he was an amazing guy. A lot of our class was spent asking Russell questions about what to do in case we were put in certain situations (and in some cases the scenarios we presented him with were a bit over the top), hearing some of his own personal stories, and just chatting it up with each other. He later commented that we were one of the most engaged classes that he has had in a while (still waiting on that Gold Star Russell!). The rest of the class was spent watching a video presentation and learning about the various levels of primary and secondary care. Finally, we had our “hands on training” where Russell taught us how to give CPR, the Heimlich maneuver, use a defibrillator, stop bleeding, apply splints, and give a full body inspection (too many jokes could be inserted here so… just use your own).
To complete our 7 hour class, we were given our final exam. To tell you the truth… it was not an easy thing to finish at all. What can you expect though when you are looking at a test that was worded more like something Yoda would have written than any normal human being (and there goes my gold star… sorry Russell… I know it wasn’t your fault!). If CPR you must administer… breath how many times for what length into the mouth of the patient (answer must be written out and given in a combination of Welsh and Finish alternating each digit). Okay, so it wasn’t that bad… after all, we did all pass. The real trouble was writing down Jared’s 57 character address in 20 characters worth of space on the sheet that would be sent to Australia to get our licenses sent to us. That took a while… way too long actually, but we eventually figured it out, sent our sheets in and said goodbye to Russell.
EFR training eased my mind a great deal regarding safety on our trip. While I realize I am in no way qualified to do open heart surgery yet (I believe Russell covers that in part two), I now have the skills and know how to help out my team in case something unfortunate happens on our trip. I find it amazing that these basic skills are not required in our school system back home and I would highly recommend everyone look into taking an EFR class and get certified. You never know when having these emergency skills may give a person the few extra seconds they need to survive while waiting for help.
To get in touch with Deep Blue Quest in or around Seoul, Korea, you can contact Russell Krogh at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit their website at DeepBlueQuest.com or contact me for more information. If you are not in Seoul, there are a plethora of diving schools and medical clinics that you can use to get certified in EFR.