Ready for Anything

   By Partnership

In a medical emergency, your lifeline could be a family member or neighbor, so we all need to know how to respond. Partnership With Native Americans® (PWNA) offers capacity building classes through the Emergency Preparedness service of its Northern Plains Reservation Aid® (NPRA) program. Training like CPR, First Aid and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) response are especially important in our service area where the population is sparse and medical help is often hours away.

Bruce of the Oglala Sioux Tribe works as a day laborer in Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Reservation. He also serves his community by being prepared for the worst. Through NPRA’s Emergency Preparedness service, he completed a CERT training course last summer, followed by CPR and First Aid certification this spring.

“I’d trained before, so these were refresher courses. It helps to remind myself that there can be accidents out there. Anything can happen, but if you have that training, you get to help someone in need.”

The courses were conducted by Emergency Medical Technician Harold Tiger, who offers training to Tribes throughout the Northern Plains, and Bruce appreciated his expertise. “When people are hurt, they’re in shock,” Bruce noted. “You have to stay calm, assess the situation and ask permission to save someone. Harold taught us how to close a wound, triage a broken arm, make different slings. It was my first time learning how to bandage someone and roll them over to check for internal bleeding. You check their head all the way down to their toes. I think it’s going to matter. It will save someone.”

Bruce is a natural teacher, sharing his knowledge of first aid with anyone in need. One day, he saw a boy pushing his bike along the road and limping, so he stopped to help. “The boy had lacerations, so I put butterfly bandages on him. I told him when to take the bandages off and how to care for them. I saw him a while later, and it had healed well. The boy was inspired to learn about first aid, so I taught him.”

When asked what inspired him to get involved, Bruce responded, “I’ve seen my fair share of accidents and injuries. In high school, I shadowed officers in Rapid City, South Dakota. I still remember every accident.”

Bruce also helped Tribal police earlier this year when there was a missing person on the reservation. “Because of my CERT training, I knew that we should search in different directions and look for signs like clothing.”

Many Native families find themselves living under constant distress, making it especially important to be there for each other. NPRA’s Emergency Preparedness service helps tribes prepare for the inevitable. Every donation you make to NPRA helps fund lifesaving solutions for those living on Northern Plains reservations.