NSC Instructor Insider Newsletter

July 2018

Dealing with Cell Phones in the Classroom

ToolkitIn our increasingly connected world, cell phones are a way of life. For some, a cell phone is a necessary tool for conducting business. For others, it is a must-have to stay connected with friends and family through texting and social media. Chances are, if you’ve been teaching first aid and CPR long enough, you’ve encountered students who just can’t avoid using their phone during class. And while a student glancing at their phone every so often may not disrupt a class, frequent and repeated cell phone use during class can negatively impact student learning, and in some cases, completely derail a class.

Having a plan of action to address cell phone use is important. Here are some tips that may help you manage the use of cell phones in your classes:

Accept reality – Regardless of our personal opinions or cell phone habits, it is unreasonable to expect your students will not have a need to communicate with others at some point during your class.

Consider your audience – The same rules may not be applicable for all classes. In some cases, you may be able to prohibit all cell phone use during class, except during breaks. In other cases, you may be teaching employees during normal work hours who may have responsibilities that are essential to the business, and they may be required to answer if someone calls. Knowing your audience can help you determine appropriate ground rules for your course participants.

Set ground rules in advance – Establish what the rules for cell phone use will be in your classes before they start and communicate these rules at the start of the class. If possible, communicate these rules in any correspondence you may send prior to class (i.e. in a confirmation email). Some rules to consider, depending on your audience, might include:

  • Checking devices at the door – in classes where you can determine when cell phones can be used, consider having a basket or table in front of class where students deposit their phones, and can pick them up during breaks and at the end of the class
  • Ask course participants to turn their phones off, or at least put them in silent mode
  • If students will be permitted to answer calls or texts during class, establish how this should be done; participants who must answer their phone should quietly leave the room, answer the call and return quickly
  • Stress proper etiquette – such as no talking on phones when class is in session, setting phones to silent mode and not vibrate, as constantly vibrating phones can also be distracting

Lead by example – It’s hard to get your course participants to respect rules regarding cell phone use in class if they see you constantly texting or checking your Twitter feed! Put your phone away and follow the rules you have established for your class.

Establish break times and stick to them – When teaching course participants who need to stay connected to their work, build in shorter, more frequent breaks into your class schedule and stick to them. Doing so will give course participants the ability to frequently connect, reduce the anxiety of wondering what’s going on at work and allow them to focus on learning.

Consider using cell phones as a learning tool – In some situations, cell phones may actually help facilitate participation in class. In longer courses, such as those in academic settings, or courses that span over the course of several days, consider using services like Poll Everywhere or Kahoot!, where course participants can use their cell phones to answer questions posed to the class in real time. “Gamifying” your course by having participants use their phones as game-show clickers can enhance engagement and learning. Keep in mind that this solution may not be appropriate for all classes, such as shorter classes, classes with a tight timeline, or classes where not all participants have phones.

Cell phones have become a normal part of everyday life. These are just some examples of ways instructors can plan in advance and effectively manage cell phone use in class, and prevent issues before they arise.

Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning

DrowningThe new captain jumped from the deck, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim and headed straight for a couple who were swimming between their anchored sportfish and the beach. “I think he thinks you’re drowning,” the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other, and she had screamed, but now they were just standing neck-deep on a sandbar. “We’re fine, what is he doing?” she asked, a little annoyed. “We’re fine!” the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard toward him. “Move!” he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners. Directly behind them, not 10 feet away, their nine-year-old daughter was drowning. Safely above the surface in the arms of the captain, she burst into tears and screamed, “Daddy!”

How did this captain know — from 50 feet away — what the father couldn’t recognize from just 10? Drowning is not the violent, splashing call for help that most people expect. The captain was trained to recognize drowning by experts and years of experience. The father, on the other hand, learned what drowning looks like by watching television.

If you spend time on or near the water (hint: that’s all of us), then you should make sure that you and your crew know what to look for when people enter the water. Until she cried a tearful, “Daddy,” the couple's daughter hadn’t made a sound. As a former Coast Guard rescue swimmer, I wasn’t surprised at all by this story. Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for is rarely seen in real life.

The Instinctive Drowning Response, so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. And it does not look like most people expect it to. When someone is drowning there is very little splashing, and no waving or yelling or calling for help of any kind. To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic drowning can be, consider this: It is the number two cause of accidental death in children age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents). Of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In 10% of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening.

Drowning does not look like drowning. Dr. Pia, in an article he wrote for the Coast Guard’s On Scene magazine, described the instinctive drowning response like this:

  • Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is a secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled before speech occurs.
  • Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
  • Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
  • Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
  • From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response, people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs. (Source: On Scene magazine: Fall 2006 page 14)

This doesn’t mean that a person who is yelling for help and thrashing isn’t in real trouble — they are experiencing aquatic distress. Not always present before the instinctive drowning response, aquatic distress doesn’t last long, but unlike true drowning, these victims can still assist in their own rescue. They can grab lifelines, reach for throw rings, etc.

Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are in the water:

  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
  • Eyes closed
  • Hair over forehead or eyes
  • Not using legs
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over onto the back
  • Appears to be climbing an invisible ladder

So, if a crewmember falls overboard and everything looks okay, don’t be too sure. Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look as if they’re drowning. They may just look as if they are treading water and looking up at the deck. One way to be sure? Ask them, “Are you alright?” If they can answer at all, they probably are. If they return a blank stare, you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them. And parents — children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you need to get to them and find out why.

Source: Sounding Magazine, Mario Vittone, Author

Customer Profile: Southwest Airlines

Recently, we had the opportunity to talk with one of our corporate customers, Jeff Sykes, program lead, at Southwest Airlines about the National Safety Council First Aid training programs.

  • At Southwest, which employees are trained in First Aid, CPR & AED?
    We require department leaders at Southwest to be First Aid, CPR & AED certified and all crew members of Southwest Airlines are required to be fully trained. One of the safest places for a medical emergency is on a flight because of the training our crews receive. In addition, our volunteer emergency response team is also fully trained with the NSC First Aid program.
  • Why is First Aid, CPR & AED training so important for these employees?
    Safety is the uncompromising priority at Southwest Airlines. As part of Southwest’s Safety Culture, we want our employees to be prepared for any emergency, whether on or off the job. Since most medical emergencies will most likely occur at home, we emphasize the training to be useful in their personal lives as well as at work.
  • How long have you been training your employees with NSC First Aid?
    We’ve had a long-standing relationship with NSC and have been training our employees at Southwest with the NSC First Aid programs for over 20 years.
  • What differentiates NSC First Aid training from other providers?
    We evaluate other First Aid training programs on a regular basis but stay with NSC because of the additional services they offer and because of the relationship we have built over the years. From OSHA updates to active shooter information, NSC takes care of our employees beyond First Aid training. Many of these updates and free information also enhance the work our volunteers do on our safety and emergency response team.
  • Does Southwest use NSC First Aid, CPR & AED Online in your training?
    Yes. Our employees are required to take the NSC First Aid, CPR & AED Online training. In addition, they are required to follow up the online training with a 3-hour class where they review the online content and complete the required skills testing. Unless they complete both the online and skill testing, they will not be certified. This blended training is provided to the employees, with the exception of the in-flight crews, who receive full training in a classroom setting which is required by the FAA.
  • Describe an incident at Southwest where First Aid skills were necessary. How did NSC training make a difference for your employees?
    We have an untold number of first aid incidents including medical issues with customers and employees. We hear many stories from employees starting with “You wouldn’t believe what we did today.” Employees, past employees and customers are appreciative of the training we provide. In one particular instance, a customer went into cardiac arrest at the ticket counter in Louisville. Southwest employees were able to respond due to the training they received and assisted first responders when they arrived. The customer was so appreciative, he wanted to donate an AED for a Southwest gate and assist in any way he could to enhance our training classes.
  • What benefits come with being First Aid and CPR trained? On the job as well as off the job?
    The biggest benefit is being able to use the training we provide off the job. When we teach First Aid training, we emphasize that they are learning the skills to help their family and friends. These are personal skills they are developing and Southwest gets to benefit from fully trained employees.
  • We know Southwest utilizes the Online First Aid, CPR & AED for community training. Tell us about that program.
    Southwest has a huge heart when it comes to giving back to the community. In the fall, we will begin offering First Aid training to the family and friends of our employees. In addition, we have also provided training to community organizations throughout the year, like the Girls Scouts and the Junior League of Dallas. Community members receive the same exact training we provide to our employees – nothing is changed. We have had great feedback on this program, even combat medics have shared that our training is some of the best they have received.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?
    We keep our First Aid, CPR & AED training as realistic as possible. We put our employees under pressure as if it is a live situation, running them through an emotional gauntlet. We tell them, “That’s not a manikin, that’s your mom or brother, etc.” We like to incorporate as much reality as possible into class so they don’t panic in a real medical emergency. This element is important to our training. We incorporate Brayden manikins which give real feedback to the student via red lights that show the effect of CPR on the blood flow to the brain.
  • Kids in Hot Cars: One Child is Too Many

    hot carsThe National Safety Council has released a groundbreaking report on pediatric vehicular heatstroke (PVH) titled, Kids in Hot Cars; a Legislative Look Across the U.S.

    On average, 37 children die each year due to PVH; 42 children died during 2017, alone. All of these deaths were preventable.

    In an effort to better understand and document this risk, NSC works with partner experts, including Jan Null, a certified consulting meteorologist and adjunct professor at San Jose State University. Mr. Null has been tracking child deaths resulting from vehicular heatstroke since 1998, and his work provides the basis for data and information in this report.

    The objective of the report is to:

    • Support stronger laws to protect children from being knowingly left unattended in vehicles
    • Increase awareness and understanding of vehicle heating dynamics
    • Increase awareness of the risk of children gaining access to vehicles on their own
    • Encourage policies for childcare providers
    • Recommend study of factors that contribute to unknowingly leaving a child in a vehicle
    • The report also features a first-hand account of a father who lost his beloved daughter.

      Dozens of children die needlessly this way every year, and it can happen to anyone. Please read and share this life-saving information.

      Download the Report Today

      Additional Resources

      Ten minutes. That’s how long it takes for the temperature inside a vehicle to rise 20 degrees. For children in particular, this increase is enough to result in death. Safe Kids Worldwide produced a toolkit that includes a printable tip sheet: Everything you need to know to keep your kids safe from heatstroke. Here are five recommendations:

      • Never leave your child alone in a car, not even for a minute
      • Keep your car locked when you are not in it so kids don't gain access
      • Create reminders by putting something in the back seat next to your child, such as a briefcase, purse, cell phone or your left shoe
      • If you see a child alone in a car, call 911
      • Set a calendar reminder on your electronic device to make sure you dropped your child off at daycare; develop a plan so you will be alerted if your child is late or a no-show

      Technology can be Part of the Solution

      NSC backs efforts to use technology to prevent children from being forgotten in vehicles. Without offering an endorsement of any vehicle or product, NSC provides the following information to help parents and guardians protect their most precious passengers:

      • Rear Seat Reminder: If a rear door is opened and closed within 10 minutes before the vehicle is started, or is opened and closed while the vehicle is running, five chimes will sound and a message will display on the instrument panel when the vehicle shuts off to remind the driver to check the rear seat. This technology is available on several 2017 GM vehicles.
      • Car Seat Technology: This technology generates a series of tones activated through a "smart" chest clip and wireless receiver to remind the driver that a child is in the rear seat within two seconds of turning off the vehicle.

      NEW NSC Online Instructor Renewal Program

      In June, we launched our Online Instructor Renewal Program. NSC First Aid Instructors will now be able to renew their instructor authorization by successfully completing this 60-minute online training program.

      Prior to your current instructor authorization expiration date, notifications will arrive via email to log on and take the Online Instructor Renewal Program. In order for NSC to contact you, please be sure your email address is up-to-date in our system. Please visit nsc.org/FAemail to update your information. If we do not have a valid email on file, you will NOT be notified of your upcoming expiration. Thank you for taking the time to update your information with us.

      With the launch of this new program, all instructor authorizations will now be valid for two years. Successful completion of the Online Instructor Renewal Program will result in an electronic authorization emailed to the address we have on file.

      The interactive course is about 60 minutes long and is comprised of six lessons:

      • Course Introduction/overview
      • Instructional Methods
      • Course Materials
      • Course Delivery
      • Course Completion and Wrap-Up
      • Information Update

      You will have two days to complete the course once you log in and you will have unlimited attempts to pass the exam during this time. Upon successful completion of the course and exam, your renewed instructor authorization will be sent to you electronically and will be valid for two years. 

      PLEASE NOTE: If your authorization is due to expire before the launch of the Online Instructor Renewal Program, please renew as usual. Effective immediately, the three-year instructor renewal option is no longer available. If your authorization is due to expire in April or May of this year, please make sure you renew following the current process to avoid losing your instructor authorization.

      This will be the only method available to renew your instructor authorization.

      Important Points to Remember:

      • You must successfully complete the online renewal course and exam to maintain authorization
      • After successful completion of the online course, your instructor authorization will be valid for two years
      • Cost to complete the online course is $80 plus applicable tax (payable by credit card when you log on to take the course)
      • You have two days to complete the course once you pay
      • You have unlimited attempts to pass the exam within the two-day period
      • Upon completion of the course, you will be e-mailed your new instructor authorization
      • You must have an updated email on record with NSC to receive your renewal notices and electronic completion card

      The new online Instructor Registry was also launched and is available to all NSC First Aid Instructors on NSC.org. This system will allow you to:

      • Verify the courses you are authorized to teach
      • Review the status of your certification (current, expired, terminated)

      Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Remember to update your email contact information online at nsc.org/FAemail.

      One Course-completion Certificate Covers First Aid, CPR & AED

      NSC First Aid has started its transition to a combined student completion certificate that will cover the First Aid, CPR & AED course. Instructors will begin to see this change as they begin to order new student workbooks. The combined card will replace the separate First Aid and CPR/AED cards. The combined card will streamline your administrative time and will be easier for students to keep track of.

      The single CPR and First Aid certificates will continue to be used for the CPR & AED and First Aid programs. The change to the combined certificate will only be in effect for the First Aid, CPR & AED program.

      PLEASE NOTE: All instructors are reminded that AED is a required component of the NSC CPR training curriculum, and must be included in all CPR courses. There are no exceptions. Instructors who teach NSC CPR without the AED portion of the course are in violation of the terms of their Instructor Agreement.

      Everybody Loves a Compliment


      5 stars

      Here are recent comments regarding our change to a combined First Aid, CPR & AED card:

      “I’m all for it. Thank you for the change. Not only does it simplify the paperwork but also saves a few trees. I am a new instructor that has transferred from AHA and am excited with the NSC program. Please don’t change in the future.”

      “This is a wonderful improvement. Many companies that I teach have complained about having to file, manage and report with two different cards. I love NSC. I have taught AHA and Red Cross. I have been an NSC instructor for over 20 years. Thanks for all that you do!!!! "

      September is Emergency Preparedness Month

      Is your organization or team prepared to make good choices in the event of disasters, violence, terrorism, weather, active shooters or other workplace emergencies? Where do you start?

      The NSC Emergency Preparedness program is a turnkey, customizable 8-course training program that is available to help you prepare and be ready to act. Learn more about this training.

      During the month of September, the facilitator kit is 20% off* to our First Aid Instructors. Call (800) 621-7615 to order and mention code EM2018.

      *No other discounts apply with this offer.

      Meet Our Featured NSC First Aid Instructor, Lark Stewart

      The National Safety Council is fortunate to have experienced professionals among our boots-on-the-ground instructors who deliver First Aid and related classes to our corporate clients. One of our most sought after onsite instructors is Katherine Lark Stewart in the Seattle area.

      Lark, the proud owner of Amber Cross Health & Safety, past director of emergency management at Edmonds Community College and experienced Federal Emergency Management training specialist, to name a few of her long list of professional accomplishments, is dedicated to serving communities. A passionate advocate of learning and emergency preparedness, Lark happily delivers the NSC brand of First Aid content with a smile!

      Lark states that she “really enjoys working with NSC, and is blessed with her husband, two daughters, three grandsons and one very special granddaughter.” She is shown here with NSC Sales representatives Robert Thomma and Daniel Nagel, who visited with her last year.

      The NSC First Aid Department is proud to have Lark on our team of experts. We salute her with the honor of Instructor of the Month and we appreciate her willingness to go above and beyond whenever needed!

      First Aid Instructor Resource Center


      Make sure you visit our Instructor Resource Center on the National Safety Council website. It is packed full of vital information, such as training tips, news and resources, to help you conduct your trainings.

      Meet Cyndi Czaja

      Cyndi holds the important role of administrative assistant for the First Aid team and has been with the National Safety Council for three years. The team would surely be lost without her! She has the luxury of working part time, which really promotes her work-life balance. In her role with First Aid, she is exposed to a variety of customers and projects. One of the main projects Cyndi manages is the state approval process for the First Aid programs.

      Cyndi says “working for a nonprofit organization provides an additional sense of purpose and satisfaction in a job well done.”

      In her personal time Cyndi enjoys traveling with my husband, hiking, volunteering and reading.

NSC First Aid Training Catalog

First Aid Training Courses

The catalog showcases all our latest products and first aid training supplies.

Introducing the NSC First Aid CPR Poster


Our poster includes easy-to-follow instructions to reinforce and remind your employees and students about the steps they need to take in the event of a cardiac arrest. Display it prominently in your workplace or classroom where employees and students can reference it when they need it. Measures 17" x 26"; $14.99 each. Posters are available for purchase here.




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