Interactive videos used to teach life-saving skills

What would you do if one of your co-workers had accidentally driven a nail into the face of another colleague? If you’re not sure how you’d react to that perplexing and horrific scenario, then S.O.S. First Aid and Safety Training can help with its interactive videos.

The Toronto region-based startup is a first aid skills educator that is partners with the Red Cross, the Lifesaving Society, and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). It has been teaching hundreds of first responders in classrooms in the Toronto region, but now will be offering interactive DVD videos to help students reinforce their skills and better retain what they’ve learned.

SOS First Aid’s entry into ‘The $1,000 Minute’ contest.

The idea to use interactive videos to put first aid responders in a specific scenario came to program coordinator Velma Ganassini when her own son had trouble passing an early prerequisite to becoming a lifeguard.

“My son failed his Bronze Cross the first time he took it,” she says. “The reason he failed is he couldn’t figure out what treatment to use in a given situation.”

Those studying first aid skills often rely on a manual with text and diagrams to study outside of the classroom. In a digital world where youth are used to playing video games and exploring interactive content online, Ganassini wanted to create something more visual to help her students.

SOS trains 200 to 250 students a month in first aid, and typically expected about two or three failures per class. Pupils who were also English as a second language (ESL) learners had particular difficulty passing the classes.

“My instructors were very strong, but somehow we weren’t reaching all of them and that was a problem for us,” she says. Since the interactive videos were given to students, “we found that marks improved substantially… we’ve had only one failure in the past six months.”

Now SOS plans to sell its interactive DVDs to occupational health and safety workers that are preparing for recertification exams, or just looking to keep their life-saving skills honed. Or it could be used for the first responder teams required in every office across Canada, due to WSIB regulations.

SOS is completing its fifth interactive video now, and will have the DVDs ready for sale in January, Ganassini says. The company will also be making the videos available online at some point and is talking with e-learning providers about including the videos in the curriculum of certain programs.

Other scenes depicted in the videos, aside from the unfortunate nail accident, include a diabetic chef that has suffered the effects of high blood sugar levels, and a landscaping worker suffering anaphylactic shock after a bee sting. Some of the situations are meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek, Ganassini says.

“There are a couple humorous points in the videos,” she says. “You bring a bit of comic relief into the video and the hope is people remember it better.”

One video reminds first aid responders that they must ask victims suffering from angina whether they have taken erectile dysfunction medication or not – because that combined with angina medication can be deadly. This life-saving tip makes everyone laugh, Ganassini says, but they remember it well.

Brian JacksonBrian Jackson is the Associate Editor at ITBusiness.ca. Follow him on Twitter, read his blog, and check out the IT Business Facebook Page.

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