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Times of India
25 March 2010
By Kamini Mathai
Chennai, India

Getting Equipped Dads and moms too are getting trained in life skills like CPR
For homemaker Nita Eapen learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and basic life support was her way of being proactive. But for psychologist and mother Nalini Ravindran it was a reaction to the death of her younger son in a road accident. The reasons may vary, but basic life support skills trainers say it’s no longer just corporates that are approaching them for programmes but moms and dads too who want to equip themselves to handle emergencies.

“At the end of the course, my fear of emergency situations disappeared,” says Eapen. “I have a 14-year-old daughter and I wanted to make sure that I could help if something happened. A couple of months after the course, my daughter hurt herself and I didn’t panic.”

CPR and first-aid trainers teach people to get over their fear and panic, says Kala Balasundaram, who works in Hewlett Packard but is also founder-president of Alert-We care, a voluntary organisation that imparts basic training in emergency response. “The fundamentals of all CPR training is the same but we tell parents to get over emotional barriers that will make them freeze. I train people everyday about emergency response and still, when my mother asked me to call an ambulance for my father who had collapsed, I froze for a second,” adds Kala.

After her course in emergency response, Nalini, who is a corporate trainer and psychologist, has become a voice and volunteer with Alert. “I want to create a sense of awareness,” says Nalini.

It’s the same reason Charumathi Venkatesh enrolled in a course at St John Ambulance, a non-profit organisation. Her friend died of cardiac arrest. “My friend thought it was spondylitis. The next thing we know, she’s gone,” she says.

Dr N Ramakrishnan, founder and managing director of TACT Academy for Clinical Training, conducts training programmes in schools, colleges, offices. He is now taking the course to gyms so personal trainers are equipped to handle an emergency. “Some residents’ associations are also coming to us to teach people in the colony about life support skills. Our whole aim is to create what we call social doctors,” he says.

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