While we would like to believe that there will always be a trained medical professional on hand whenever there is an accident, the reality is that sometimes regular people have to step in and save the day. The First Aid Blanket is a Red Dot award winning concept developed at Zhejiang University to aid bystanders in the rescue of drowning victims. It is designed to be stored rolled up in a tube near places where drownings are likely to occur.
The blanket is a visual step-by-step guide to reviving someone who has been pulled from the water. An outline shows where to position the person on the blanket. The positioning is important because there is a fold-over flap that identifies the area on the victim’s chest where compressions should be performed.
Graphics on the blanket show the steps a rescuer should take when dealing with the emergency. There are written instructions as well, but the graphics are simple enough that they should be universally understood even by people who do not read English. The blanket instructs the rescuer to first call for help, then check for signs of life. If the victim displays no signs of life, the blanket walks the rescuer through the steps of clearing the airway, breathing, and performing compressions.
It should be noted that while hands-only CPR is now recommended by the American Red Cross for many emergencies, mouth-to-mouth CPR is still the best course of action for drowning victims. The blanket illustrates the procedures for performing compressions and mouth-to-mouth, and while the beats per minute instructions might be difficult to understand for a non-English reader, the general concepts are clearly laid out. That alone can buy the crucial time needed to get an ambulance on the scene.