American Red Cross First Aid app is an invaluable tool for archaeologists 1

First_Responder_thenounprojectLast weekend, I took my bi-annual CPR/AED refresher certification through the University of Arizona Recreation Center. I have long been obsessed with learning as much as I can about health and safety in order to help improve the abysmal condition of safety training and awareness in the cultural resource management industry. The main reason I have an up-to-date CPR and wilderness first aid skills is because I’ve taken the initiative to make it a priority for myself. Maybe it’s just been my luck, but most of the CRM companies I’ve worked for didn’t give a sh*t about making sure their employees were well-trained in health and safety. In fact, I’ve even heard supervisors complain about having to pay for trainings that actually make the company more marketable.

During this recent CPR class, I learned about an awesome series of apps created by the American Red Cross. I’ve downloaded the First Aid app and was immediately blown away. You can download the apps for Apple and Android at the American Red Cross website or in the Apple App Store ( It also works on the iPad (and other tablets I presume), so when your company finally gets around to replacing paper with tablets you can use the app on the company’s dime.


What does the Red Cross First Aid app do and how can it help archaeologists?

The American Red Cross has created a short video that succinctly summarizes the main ways you can use their app.

After playing around with this app for a few minutes, I can see that it has three main uses:


Education and Training—The app has a “Learn” mode where you can check out informational modules and videos on a variety of common forms of serious injury. After reading and viewing the material, there’s a “Tests” mode where you can actually test what you’ve learned. I don’t think these modules can replace CPR or first aid courses, but at least it’s something.



Preparedness—This is less necessary for field archaeology, but the “Prepare” mode gives you an idea of how to handle a range of common emergency situations from drought to earthquakes to winter weather. This is pretty much informational because these topics aren’t included in the “Tests” mode.


Emergency—This is the true strength of the app. In the “Emergency” mode, you can see really quick videos and tips regarding a bunch of common health emergencies. Did you just see a co-worker clutching her heart at the all-you-can-eat casino buffet while the rest of the crew is eating? Maybe she’s choking or having a heart attack. How can you tell? Fire up the American First Aid app.

In Emergency mode, the app actually has a button that calls 911 for you. For less life-threatening injuries, the app can use your location to navigate you to the nearest hospital.

Unfortunately, archaeologists frequently work in the field in remote locations where we don’t have cell reception. That’s why this app can never replace actual first aid and CPR training. For the occasions when you’re within cell range this app can be a real life saver. Seriously.

I guess, if you can’t get your company to care about health and safety at least you can download an app in order to teach yourself what to do in an emergency. If you’re really lazy, you could just download the app and fire it up when your co-worker cuts herself really badly or breaks an ankle at work. It will take both market forces and a change in the next generation of archaeologists to make a dent in the anti-safety stonewall that prevails at many CRM companies. However, we can somewhat compensate with tools like the American Red Cross app. Please, download it today.

(FYI: There’s even a pet first aid app. Meow.)

If you have any questions or comments, write below or send me an email.


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One thought on “American Red Cross First Aid app is an invaluable tool for archaeologists

  • Drew Cozby

    Great post Bill. As a former EMT, this has been a pet peeve of mine for years. I am constantly amazed at the lack of caring about employee safety that most firms seem to have. I have worked in remote locations around New Mexico, hours from a paved road with no means of emergency communications. Yes, there was an old basic first-aid kit buried somewhere in the truck that had been thoroughly picked over and could only help out in the case of a minor cut or scrape (if there were any band-aids left). I am surprised that CRM firms don’t realize the liability they may face in a truly life or death situation. A basic first aid class should be required of every employee at the very least. Wilderness first aid or wilderness first responder would be even better. But, that would cut into profits and the project is over-budget as it is. Besides, if an arch tech goes down, they can always get a new one. /sarcasm

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