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Knowing How to Help

Trained to Treat Injuries and Medical Emergencies

Emergency prepared checklist

Responding to Code Blue in Churches

In the Bible

Finding help for the sick - Now Elisha came to Damascus. Ben-hadad the king of Syria was sick. And when it was told him, “The man of God has come here,” the king said to Hazael, “Take a present with you and go to meet the man of God, and inquire of the Lord through him, saying, ‘Shall I recover from this sickness?’ (2 Kings 8:7-8)

Someone trained to heal - Luke the beloved physician greets you ... (Colossians 4:14)

He told them what to do - Now Isaiah had said, “Let them take a cake of figs and apply it to the boil, that he may recover. (Isaiah 38:21)

One who wants to be taught - Your hands have made and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments. (Psalm 119:73)

A case of neglect - ... the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up ... (Ezekiel 34:4)

In the News

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 7, 2018 - When a gunman attacked the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing eleven people, many lives were saved by synagogue members and responding law enforcement officers who had received "Stop the Bleed" training. Dr. Matthew Neal, who taught those classes in Pittsburgh synagogues, said, "I would lead every class with the disclaimer that we hoped this training would never be necessary but that the community needed to be prepared." [1] Tragically, it became necessary, but thankfully, they were prepared.

Salt Lake City, Utah, February 19, 2019 - A high school junior saw a car flipped over at an interstate on-ramp. He pulled over and went to the vehicle, where he saw the injured driver starting to foam at the mouth and turning purple. Immediately, he pulled the driver out and began CPR. The man was breathing again by the time medics arrived and took him to the hospital. This was the first time the junior had used CPR after being trained. [2]

Bronx, New York City, September 14, 2017 - A security guard with the Metropolitan Transit Authority was on his way home after work when he suffered a heart attack. Just then, a tow truck driver on his way to church passed by. The driver, who was a trained paramedic, stopped and administered CPR until EMTs arrived. The two later met at the hospital where the heart attack victim was recovering.

"Warning! Do not use this without proper instruction"

So many things today come with warnings or caution notices. It is easy to overlook these when we already know what to do and how to do it. However, the warnings are there for those who don't know, and for those who think they know but don't.

We may be all right doing some First Aid procedures just going by what we've seen and what we figure out. Washing a small cut and applying a Band-Aid® [4] would be in this category. But what if this is a more serious injury, such as a third-degree burn or a cut artery? What if the person might have a spinal injury? What if the person has a heart attack, is choking, or has a possible stroke? Proper training could make the difference between survival or death, recovery or permanent damage.

First Aid and Stop the Bleed

Training is needed even for basic First Aid. Many of us can do a little when needed, and a little more in a pinch. But training, including live demonstrations and hands-on practice, opens us up to being able to do much more.

If this is for the workplace, it is usually to meet federal and state OSHA standards for emergency care. These include identification of the type and level of an injury, cleansing of areas to be treated, anti-septic practices, blood-borne pathogens, stopping bleeding, etc.

OSHA standards include clear incident documentation, which is important for processing claims. This is also important for an evaluation of emergency response team effectiveness in case of a review, audit, inspection, or investigation.

For a Church Safety Ministry, OSHA is involved only if church employees are seriously injured. However, to the extent that we meet OSHA standards, we are better-equipped to handle injuries in the church and at church events.

CPR, AED, and Other Medical Emergency Responses

Besides injuries, we may also encounter various medical emergencies. The one most of us would think of first is heart attack. Other common ones are epileptic seizure, stroke, anaphylaxis (systemic allergic reaction), fainting (from various causes), heat exhaustion, and hypothermia. Persons may also experience symptoms of diseases or of food poisoning.

If any of these conditions cause the heart to stop beating or the person to stop breathing, the best immediate response is most often cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). If the heart cannot be restarted this way or the patient has tachycardia (runaway rapid heartbeat), the next option is to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). CPR and the use of AED both require special instruction and practice. They are now usually taught together.

Strokes necessitate recognition and timely medical attention. Anaphylaxis also requires recognition and administration of antihistamines and epinephrine (adrenaline). Fainting can be the result of depletion of nutrients or electrolytes, low blood pressure, dehydrations, or any number of causes. Heat exhaustion and hypothermia are often covered in First Aid courses. Training including these kinds of medical incidents equips us to accurately identify the condition and respond correctly (at least know what to tell the 911 dispatcher).


Sheepdog Church Security does not have a training course for First Aid, CPR, AED, and other medical responses. These are best taught by trained instructors with proven records in the use of these skills. Also, this kind of training is usually available in most localities. Currently, three major organizations provide most of the training in these areas. They are the AmericanRed Cross, the American Safety & Health Institute, and the American Heart Association . Training may also be provided by colleges, universities, and medical or nursing schools.

American Red Cross

The Red Cross began in the mid-1800s when a businessman from Switzerland organized people to care for the wounded from both sides of a war in northern Italy. The emblem is the reversed colors of the Swiss flag. A few years later, during the Civil War, caring for both Union and Confederate soldiers as well as injured civilians, Clara Barton began what became the American Red Cross (ARC).

During World War I and World War II, the American Red Cross helped train U.S. soldiers in First Aid. This saved many lives on the battlefields. During WWII, they trained civilians as part of Civil Defense preparation for potential civilian casualties in case our mainland was attacked.

Since the early 1900s, scouting groups have been training their members in First Aid.

The scope of ARC training has expanded to also include CPR and AED. This training is for industrial employees, fire departments, and law enforcement, as well as for the general population. [5]

Red Cross training is conducted by ARC-certified trainers in Red Cross offices. Several (but not all) YMCAs offer ARC training in First Aid and CPR/AED. ARC trainers also conduct on-site classes for company employees. Local organizations can inquire about on-site classes - there may be a minimum enrollment requirement or referral to classes at other local organizations.

ARC also has classes to train trainers. Some of these are through The Pulse Provider. [6]

American Safety & Health Institute

The American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI) is one of two parts of the Safety & Health Institute (the other part is Medic First Aid). They are a major provider of life-saving skills to employees of companies and agencies. Their courses are geared specifically to meeting OSHA standards. In several locations, the instructors are fire department and/or law enforcement agency personnel.

Among the many courses offered are several to be considered by a Church Safety Ministry (Number 3 is the overall best choice for most congregations):

  1. ASHI Basic First Aid
  2. ASHI CPR and AED
  3. ASHI CPR, AED and First Aid COMBO
  4. ASHI Bloodborne Pathogens
  5. ASHI Advanced First Aid
  6. ASHI Advanced Bleeding Control
  7. ASHI Pediatric CPR, AED, and First Aid [7]

Trainers can be trained and certified through The Pulse Provider

American Heart Association

The American Heart Association (AHA) was founded in 1924 as the Association for the Prevention and Relief of Heart Disease. They support research into heart disease and promote heart-healthy lifestyles. AHA also provides Heartsaver® training into life-saving skills:

  1. Heartsaver® CPR AED
  2. Heartsaver® First Aid
  3. Heartsaver® First Aid CPR AED
  4. Heartsaver® Pediatric First Aid CPR AED
  5. Heartsaver® Bloodborne Pathogens [8]

As with ARC classes, these are often taught through other organizations.


Some community colleges, universities, and medical schools offer courses in First Aid, CPR, and AED to the general public. The instructors may be their own faculty or be from the Red Cross or the American Heart Association. These classes lead to ARC or AHA certification. Some vocational schools have classes toward ASHI certification.

Train Yourself, Train the Team

As an individual church safety team member, you can find and take classes and become certified in First Aid and CPR/AED. Some team members may already be trained and certified through their employers. The safety ministry can arrange to enroll safety ministry members in these classes, also providing the opportunity for teachers and staff, as well as members of the congregation. Training in Pediatric First Aid and CPR/AED is recommended for nursery attendants, childcare workers, teachers of children's classes, and leaders and volunteers in children's ministries.

There Is More

Articles in this series address incidents with injuries or medical situations requiring immediate attention (Code Blue). Other articles concern the need for readiness, prevention of injury, being equipped to respond, and dealing with severe injuries and mass casualty events.


  1. Dr. Matthew D. Neal and Roberta G. Simmons, "‘Stop the Bleed' Saved Lives in Pittsburgh," U.S. News & World Report, Nov. 5, 2018 [].
  2. Anon, "West High student honored for quick action that saved the life of an injured motorist," The Salt Lake Tribune, February 21, Updated: February 22, 2019 [].
  3. Esha Ray and Leonard Greene, "Heart attack victim reunited in hospital with man who saved his life," NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, Oct 11, 2017 [].
  4. Band-Aid is a registered trademark of Johnson & Johnson.
  5. American Red Cross, Training & Certification [].
  6. The Pulse Provider [].
  7. American Safety & Health Institute, Training Programs [].
  8. American Heart Association, CPR & First Aid Training Classes [].