The age of COVID has changed how we do business, go to school, and live our everyday lives. We have had to adapt to social distancing measures. Accident Scene Management has adapted by offering a way to complete the hands-on portion of its certification virtually, rather than in person.
We covered this class before after I took the in-person version of it myself in 2019. To summarize, this covers both theoretical aspects, like how to secure a crash scene, what information to collect, and how to effectively convey it to emergency dispatchers, as well as hands-on activities, such as removing a victim’s helmet as safely as possible (only to be done if they’re not breathing) and using the Jaw Thrust technique to open a clogged airway.
An online version of the theory portion of the course has been available for some time, requiring only the practical hands-on aspect to take place in the presence of an ASM-certified instructor to earn a certification. Desperate times call for desperate measures, however, which has led Road Guardians to come up with a way to complete the hands-on part of the class online.
“I want to make it clear to you that we still believe that hands-on in-person training is much more valuable than virtual hands-on,” says the Road Guardians website. “However, virtual hands-on is also much better than no hands-on.”
When I asked for more details on precisely how virtual hands-on certification would work, Vicki Sanfelipo, RN, Executive Director of Accident Scene Management, sent me the specific guidelines for classroom setup and supplies that students will need to follow. The ASM-certified instructor joins remotely through video conferencing, which continues for the duration of the class and certification session. This is how the instructor verifies that students have learned and are using the proper techniques.
Since some of the skills require multiple people, small groups of students will still have to gather in-person for virtual certification. Students will need their own first aid supplies and a full-face helmet. A modular helmet is acceptable, while open-face is not, since the point is to learn how to remove the more difficult full-face helmet. Classrooms will also need a pocket mask and human face replica, like a mannequin, to practice proper mask placement for assisted breathing. Students will not actually blow into the mask in class, so they can share a single mask safely.
Some may feel that the use of videoconferencing is inadequate, from the instructor’s limited point of view, to make sure that certifications are legitimate. I have been on the other side of that camera as an amateur radio volunteer examiner, monitoring online license examinations in a similar manner. While this only involves monitoring the applicant and their environment while taking an online test with no physical skills, I have been impressed at just how much we can see and look for through just a simple webcam. I am confident that an ASM-certified instructor will also know what to look for in their students through a camera.