First-aid skills are important for all ‘do-it-yourselfers’
Before I was a hardware guy, I spent a few years driving nails in the construction industry. I loved it; the work was rewarding, the experiences unforgettable and the education priceless. Construction sites are a tough environment, though, unsuitable for those thin of skin or weak of body. There is danger there, too, and plenty of it.
Profanity was (is) the constant companion of every construction site and during my tenure in the rafters, it was used so much that it was mostly ignored. Unfortunately, there were times when that profanity was pushed out with urgency, panic or pain and not something that could be ignored. Such was the case the day Nutt, one of my co-workers, blasted a 3-inch framing nail through his left index finger with a pneumatic nail gun.
He hung from the gabled 2-by-8’s for a few moments gushing blood, spewing bad words and shaking his mitt like an angry monkey. After getting the attention he craved, he climbed down and quit crying. Meanwhile, our boss was breaking out the first-aid kit and preparing a makeshift operating table on which he performed a beautiful bandaging job.
Granted, Nutt was a bit unlucky that day thanks to the nail through the finger and all. But, despite the inconvenience he caused our boss, Nutt received quick and respectable treatment, and for that he was fortunate.
Although most of us don’t work construction jobs like Nutt and I did, we all do plenty of dangerous stuff. This spring we do-it-yourselfers will dive into the bottomless pool of projects we’ve planned over the winter. To complete these tasks we will learn about and invest in tools like hammers, knives and drill bits.
But unless the spring of 2019 proves a fundamental shift in human behavior, precious few dollars will be spent on quality first-aid kits and dangerously few man-hours invested in first-aid training. That’s a shame because sharp tools and spring chores inevitably lead to a fair number of minor cuts, most fixable in minutes by someone properly equipped.
Not having a decent first-aid kit in the tool shed is a bad decision and not knowing how to use it is just plain silly. Lacerations, bee stings and burns lurk in our work and we will all likely encounter one or more of these maladies. So why not be prepared?
My advice is to get a really good first-aid kit with adhesive bandages as well as wound dressing, tape, alcohol wipes and antibiotic gel. Spend a few bucks, don’t be stingy. Next, gather knowledge on the subject and learn the products in your kit. Finally, practice a few times: try dressing an imaginary wound on your dominant hand all by yourself. That type of practice could pay big dividends in the case of a real at home accident, providing you with confidence and knowledge which, like my construction site education, is priceless.
Or as Nutt would have put it #*@^$%! priceless.