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emergency vehicles

Emergency vehicle approaching? MOVE OVER

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Emergency vehicle?   MOVE OVER!

When emergency vehicle, ambulances and fire engines respond to emergency calls, other vehicles are required to pull over to the right side of the road and come to a stop.

So…. DO they?    Emergency personnel (firefighters, paramedics, other EMS) report that drivers often neglect to do so.     (It’s a crime, heah!)


“These problems have always existed, (but) it’s gotten worse,” reports a firefighter Chief.

There are factors that most complicate the job for drivers of emergency vehicles.   They are: drivers who pull over to the left instead of the right, drivers who stop in the middle of the road and drivers who refuse to stop.   EMS drivers are trained to pass vehicles on the left side.   So, motorists who pull over to the left disrupt the traffic flow and increase the chance of collisions.    Pull over to the RIGHT and STOP.

Further complicating the matter are drivers who are distracted by activities such as talking on their cellphones, listening to headphones, eating, yes – even applying makeup on their face!

Everything Except Driving?

“Everybody seems to be doing everything in their vehicles except driving!” says one paramedic.

Also, NOT GOOD is that modern vehicle design also affects driver awareness because outside noise is muted due to the “improved” vehicle design.    So they don’t HEAR the emergency vehicle – how mindless is that?

Sirens on any emergency vehicle, fire engines and ambulances are approximately 120 decibels, which is comparable to a car horn.

It is believed only about 30 percent of drivers follow the law and pull over to the right.   If at least one driver does pull over, many times other drivers will follow suit.    SO, YEAH to every one who does care about their community and someone’s right to emergency care and who DO PULL OVER for an emergency vehicle?   You are a role model to many other drivers.    Great.    But let me say one more time – ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of motorists should be pulling over.    Don’t be a doofuss.

As a 15-year CPR, Babysitting CPR and First Aid Instructor, who continually stresses the need to

a) recognize an emergency and

b) call 911 promptly,

it drive me NUTS that any dense motorist gets in the way of that vital response.

pull over

Spread the word, please!

POST THIS on your refrigerator, your social media, tell teen drivers, on your job board and on your brain about emergency vehicles:

-Pull over to the right side of the road when emergency vehicles are approaching.

-Do not stop in the middle of the road.

-Keep radio volume at a reasonable level.

Do not wear headphones while driving.

-Do not talk on cellphone or text while driving.

Frequently check rearview mirrors.

-Do not be distracted by vehicle crashes – “Rubbernecking” causes additional crashes.


Stay safe!    Get trained!    Best wishes!

Jean Lesmeister, Instructor


call 911

If in DOUBT, call 911 OUT!

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Call 911

I am so grateful to have a number of friends who are paramedics, EMT’s and medical personnel.     In my 15 years of teaching CPR, Babysitting CPR (youth class age 11+) and First Aid, I have been able to ask them questions, get clarification about issues my students bring up, and ask about changes made in protocols by medical directors of the certifying agencies.   I appreciate their advanced knowledge so much.

If in Doubt, Call Them Out

One of my paramedic friends once told me to tell my students to call 911 – “If in Doubt, Call Them Out“.    I love that advice.   It covers the idea that so many of us are “lay responders“.   We are the public.   We don’t have advanced training, though we hopefully have taken a CPR course, recently.    (Go, getting trained!)    We ARE the most likely to recognize an emergency – we are with loved ones, co-workers, out in the community, and may see an urgent issue arise.   We are the ones who might call 911.

To me, “If in Doubt, Call Them Out” is about quick access to Dispatchers.    Dispatchers are there for you.    They answer your call and help you do a myriad of things – help you calm down if you’re flustered, clarify what is happening, ask vital questions, give vital direction – and STAY with you on the line.

Dispatch 3

We get so used to ordering a pizza (call, order, hang up) that we can forget that excellent median step between placing our call up to the arrival of EMS (Emergency Medical Services).    We can forget that the Dispatchers stay with you, help you, advise you.


Should I call 911?

You have every right to doubt if you should call 911…    You’re not a paramedic, right?   We hesitate; we’re not sure…    We fear “what if it’s not an emergency”?   What if I’m wrong?   (Even – “will I get in trouble”!)  HOLD THOSE HORSES!    That’s why Dispatchers are there for you!   They will help you ascertain the extent of the urgency.    We, Jane and Joe Public, are doing the best we can, right?    We’re not medically trained.   We’re not paramedics.    We just try to do our best.    Yep, If in Doubt, Call Them Out!  Call 911.

Finally – please take CPR!     In that window of time before EMS arrives, you can use your skills to save a life.    Those minutes until their arrival are vital.    You CAN save a life – it’s happening all the time.

ASHI Red_Blue TC LogoJean Lesmeister, Instructor


THINK – Cause No Further Harm

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Stories about injuries and emergencies – Cause No Further Harm

One of the really rich things about teaching CPR, youth Babysitting CPR, First Aid, etc. these 15 years are the STORIES! I hear so many, many stories from students; of course, the happy ending stories are best. Students share how a family member got hurt doing this or that – but was OK.   A student shares how the neighbor fell off his roof – but was OK.  Some of the MOST amazing stories of all are when the youth (age 11-15) Babysitting CPR class shares their own youth injuries! They raise their hand and share.   For instance – one student ate $3.50 worth of quarters when a piggy bank broke before his parents found him. Another shared he hid in the clothes dryer and his mom turned it on, returning from a phone call.   Much screaming and shrieking ensued. A girl shared that she put beads into her ear canal wanting to wear “jewelry” like her mommy. And, of course, there’s the old “I put peanuts up my nose”.

Think Before You Act – Cause No Further Harm

But there are also the sad and heart breaking stories: how a neighbor family suffered the tragedy of SIDS with their infant, and how a sibling ended up for life in a wheelchair after a fall from high up.

osha-think-before-you-act-safety-signAccidents can stem from inattention, being careless, and can happen so quickly – but a mistake that always is at the forefront of my mind is when people “charge into action” without the pause to THINK, first, when there’s an accident. My most recent example of this type of NOT thinking first is a story shared by a man about an incident at his home with his two-year old son. Apparently, the child began to choke and so the grandma administered the abdominal thrust (Heimlich maneuver) – but wasn’t trained to do so. The wife thrust her fingers into the child’s mouth to grab the instruction – also not trained – nor do you put fingers in a mouth because it usually shoves the obstruction deeper. It turns out the obstruction came out of the throat, ultimately – so glad. BUT this man shared that out on the porch was sitting the grandfather who is a retired firefighter. You get my drift? Two untrained women start responding to the emergency – when a TRAINED person was THAT CLOSE. A perfect example of NOT thinking, not staying calm to make the best choice.  Ladies, don’t “help” the choking child – GO GET grandpa!

stay calm hands

As usual, I end each post with my message “get trained” – but this time I’ll add “THINK before you act.  Cause No Further Harm”.

Jean Lesmeister

Children’s Hospital – Climbing danger

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Keep Kids Safe

Having taught CPR, First Aid and Babysitting Safety for 15 years, I have been told sooooo many stories from students of all ages of what they experienced within their families.   It’s amazing – the 6 year old nephew who… the 35 year old uncle who…  the time the baby…  the toddler who climbed up…

I always commend my students, any age,  for getting trained.   Accidents can happen so very quickly, so unexpectedly.   Especially with children it seems you “just looked away” for a moment.

It happened so quickly…  Climbing Danger

One youth student shared that he’d broken a piggy bank as a small boy and then proceeded to eat $3.25 worth of quarters before his father came upon him – off to the doctor!   Another young student shared that she methodically put small beads into her ear canal, thinking it was adding jewelry to herself – jewelry like mommy – off to the doctor!   And let’s not forget how many little kids shove peanuts up their noses…

But there are tragic stories, too.    Too many little climbers pull furniture over onto themselves because they tried to climb up – and they are killed by the crashing furniture.

climbing furnitureclimbing furniture3climbing furniture2

It’s always great to have reminders and tips for staying safe and I’m happy to recommend the website of Children’s Hospital Colorado .   It’s a great hospital – and on their website they link to another great agency, Safe Kids Denver.     Visit their site when you’re sipping a cup of coffee to get a safety reminder – you may be glad you did.   These tips are not just helpful for you, but can be shared with your babysitter or nanny or relatives and friends.

Please get trained

Keep kids SAFE.   And, if you haven’t taken CPR/choking skills class, ever – please get trained.   If it’s been a while since you took a class – please renew.    There are changing protocols as medical directors continue to work towards more of the public being trained and dispensing with complex class curricula.

I teach EasyCPR-Denver.    No more written tests – how intimidating written tests are!   No more stressful observation-testing of the skills – oh, dear.     My class is focused, friendly, with humor.    (Adding chuckles to a class makes retention skyrocket – and that’s the objective!)


Jean Lesmeister    Denver, CO


Maybe a head and neck injury?

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Maybe a head and neck injury?

Accidents happen so quickly.    We all do the best we can to PREVENT accidents by removing dangerous items, keeping a close watch on little children, to name a few.   A head and neck injury is one of the scariest.   What a fragile part of the body!   Next, the best thing we can do is be ready to RESPOND to accidents, should they occur – and that means get TRAINED.

Head and neck injuries can come from accidents that occur from trips, falls, fainting, and collisions.

How might you know there is a head and neck injury?

The American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI) states, “When the body suffers a significant force, such as from a high fall, shooting, or motor vehicle crash, serious injury can result, most notably to the spine. Injury to the spinal cord can result in temporary or permanent paralysis or in a life-threatening condition, such as the loss of breathing.

“After the initial injury, movement of damaged spinal bones can result in additional injury to the spinal cord or surrounding tissue.   Quickly instruct a responsive person to remain still.

“The lack of obvious injury does not mean that the spine is not injured. If a significant mechanism of injury occurred, it is best to assume a spinal injury exists.”



If in Doubt, Call Them Out – 911 is there for you

In the 15 years I’ve taught Babysitting CPR Classes for youth (11+) – and Adult CPR and First Aid classes, as well – I always urge students, regarding 911, “If in Doubt, Call Them Out“.    Very importantly, I remind students that the dispatchers who answer the call are also highly trained and can begin immediate direction, support, and help you calm down.    Priceless.

Parents, family, friends, babysitters – stay safe, be careful of head and neck injuries and, yes, get trained!     Best wishes!


Jean Lesmeister,  CPR/First Aid Instructor   

American Safety and Health Institute Training Center, Denver, CO





boy calls 911

6 yr old boy calls 911 – saves MOM!

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Boy calls 911

For the little 6 year old boy in this story, he had been taught the two BIG POINTS:

a) Recognizing an emergency

b) Responding with a 911 call

Those two steps are what it’s all about.    The boy calls 911.

Of course, being able to, next, give care in an emergency is so important, as well!    But that’s for older people.    It’s about getting TRAINED.    You are most likely to give care to someone you love, statistically.   Until he’s older, for care training, this boy was trained to call.

boy calls 911

The stories I’ve been told in 15 years of teaching CPR

I’ve enjoyed teaching Adult CPR & First Aid and Youth Babysitting CPR so very much.    Everyone LOVES their people – and teaching people what to do has so much meaning for me.   It’s amazing, as I teach class, the stories I’ve heard over these many years.   People share family stories of happy endings, not-so-happy endings, brave helpers, amazing coincidences when needed – I love the stories.   I’m also an actor and believe, with all my heart, that story-telling is the best way for all of us to learn.    I share the stories when it’s applicable to a class situation.   It’s a rich flow of humanity, these stories.

And there are stories about really young people!


Yes, I’m teaching an older age group – Adult CPR or Babysitting CPR (age 11+).    But, if trained, LITTLE kids, amazingly young kids, are saving lives, too!    They’ve been “trained” to utilize 911.   They’ve been reassured that there are kind and helpful people who will answer the phone.   They’ve been trained to reach out for help to these “nice people” (dispatchers).    As you know, THAT’S NOT SMALL!    The little child’s ability to use 911 is a big deal!  They can access the professionals to come and help.   And they can help a family member.   In this story, this little boy calls 911 and SAVES a family member – his MOM.

This story is from ABC News about a 6 year old who had been trained to contact 911.   Now he still has his MOM!

I hope you enjoy this happy, happy story.

A 6 year old hero!


Jean Lesmeister, 15 year CPR/First Aid Instructor   

American Safety and Health Institute Training Center, Denver, CO

crying baby

Calming crying baby – and tired adult

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Crying Baby

When it comes to a crying baby, the  Children’s Hospital Colorado notes on its Calm a Crying Baby website:

Some healthy, normal babies cry up to 4-5 hours a day. It is normal for a baby to cry and it is normal to feel frustrated when he or she won’t stop.”

So….   Wow….

crying baby

This excellent web site with information and advice about you can do about your crying baby is dedicated to supporting parents and babies and babysitters – and ending Shaken Baby Syndrome.     Some website topics include Calm Yourself, How to Soothe a Baby, VIDEOS from doctors and nurses (great!), and the BIG ONEMake A Plan!     If you have set, in advance, what you’re going to do when you’re feeling worn out with the crying, the worry, the confusion trying to figure out what might be wrong – that’s your answer.   You have a PLAN.    Will you call this relative, that friend, go with the baby for a ride in the car (they can be soothed and fall asleep with the vehicle motion)?

I urge you to visit the site – there is so much information – and support.

As a parent or babysitter you know what they say is true:   Crying can be a mystery and it can stop as quickly as it began.


crying baby n mom

Music can be a big help for a crying baby

Children’s Hospital has some lullabies on their site for you to use.  They also share, There are also infant and toddler stations available through online radio options such as Pandora.

Who knew?

At all costs, let’s Make a Plan and talk to others about this – Let’s stop forever Shaken Baby Syndrome!

Best wishes – stay safe!


Jean Lesmeister, 15 year CPR/First Aid Instructor   

American Safety and Health Institute Training Center, Denver, CO

Child climbing injury – pull furniture over

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Child Climbing Injury

A child climbing injury works out to be this sad report – at least one child dies every two weeks from pulling heavy furniture pieces over onto themselves.    The subsequent impact to their skull and body can be fatal.   Add the element of how long it takes to find that they are lying injured.   That can decrease the potential for survival.

Of course, it is hoped that a child climbing incident will not be fatal – regardless, the falling furniture can certainly cause a child climbing injury!    Guard against this sad reality – children like to climb!   They are curious!


falling furniture3

Child Climbing Injury – INFORMATION!

This excellent Home Safety video offered by the San Francisco Globe shows how easily a child climbing injury can happen, using a child mannequin as the subject.    It also offers a very clear guide how to fasten furniture, easily, and avoid this too-common tragedy.    Injury is dreadful – death is tragic.

The footage shows a number of different pieces of furniture and how easily the small weight of a child can still pull it over.    Little kids like to climb!

 falling furniture5

I’m attaching a chart that shows, in the home,

what room is most common, what age is most common – and much more.

This chart is from the Neighborhood Safety Network (NSN)


It is recommended that you secure furniture to the wall.   

Even better, IKEA offers free furniture securing hardware.   That’s so excellent!

Learn more about Ikea’s offer from Mommy Nearest!  

Stay safe!


More about Jean, the CPR Training JEANius

Certified Training Center, American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI)



Why am I shaking AFTER I saved someone’s life? Hint: You’re Human

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For 15 years, as a CPR, AED, First Aid, and youth Babysitting Safety instructor, people are used to hearing me say, “get trained” and “recognize an emergency” and “you’re most likely to give care to someone you love” and “4 out 5 cardiac arrests happen in the home“.

Yes, you bet, all that is true.    I’m REALLY liking this article from the Health & Safety Institute (HSI) [I’m a certified Training Center with HSI] because it offers compassionate advice about how one might feel after the emergency incident is over, after the pressure is off.

Someone who has bravely stepped up to help certainly felt adrenalin rush through their body, certainly got themselves very laser-focused on contacting EMS and giving initial care, certainly mustered their training memories, quickly, from their memory bank.    That’s a big deal!    That’s what being a “first responder” is!


The key word here is COMPASSION.    If you’ve assisted with a frightening emergency, be kind to yourself.   Calm down, give yourself an “atta girl” pat on the back, do something nice for yourself (yeah, a massage), cry a bit to let it all out, eat chocolate!   Yeah!    If you can offer support to someone who is calming down after an incident, that’s great, too!

Please read this HSI article about “After The Emergency” – it offers supportive tips for helping children after an event, too.

In short – please Get Trained, Save a Life, and afterwards Be Nice To You!






Stayin’ Alive SONG helps you do CPR – it’s the right speed!

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In this recent post from the American Safety & Health Institute, they reiterate that “Songs and rhymes are often used in teaching because they stick.”

Educators and teachers have always used songs and phrases as a big support for students to retain information – so the knowledge is there when you NEED it.

For CPR, the Stayin’ Alive song is referenced because it has the correct speed of 100 compressions in 60 seconds.    When YOU charged with adrenalin because you’re helping someone in an emergency, will this song pop into your memory?   You BET it will.    Thus, you’ll go the correct pace, neither too slow or too fast.

CPR classRead more about The Connection Between Music and CPR Skill Training.


Stay safe!    More about Jean, the CPR Training JEANius

My upcoming youth BABYSITTING CPR classes

My ongoing CPR Adult/Teen classes