If you want to be able to save a life you need to learn the basic CPR steps. Whether you progress to learn further CPR or AED and first aid skills is up to you but you should at least learn basic life support.
The American Heart Association has published horrifying statistics that show your chance of survival are awful if you are not in hospital when you suffer a cardiac arrest. People wrongly assume that the emergency services will arrive on time but they can’t always be at the scene within five minutes and that is about all the time you have to prevent brain damage and death.
You don’t need to worry about giving mouth to mouth. That is not necessary although it is one of the recommended CPR steps. Recent research has shown that correctly performing chest compressions can restart somebody’s heart and get them breathing again. Rescue breaths may not be needed although the EMT will start them when they arrive. So why not visit your local Red Cross center to find out what is involved in learning how to perform CPR?
With more people dying in the USA every three days from cardiac arrest than died in the terrorist attacks 9-11, even learning the basic CPR steps is better than knowing nothing and having to stand by and watch someone you know and love die. If you achieve your CPR certification you may want to take an extra course in learning how to use an automated external defibrillator. When doing cardiac resuscitation, CPR works better when combined with the use of an AED to shock the heart and hopefully get it beating again.
Step 1. Call 911 to alert the emergency services. Try to get someone else to make this call while you asses the casualty. You need to check whether they are responsive or not and whether they are breathing. If they are still breathing you don’t need to start CPR but if they are not you need to take action quickly. The dispatcher can assist you by giving your first aid directions over the phone so don’t worry if you can’t remember any of the CPR steps or even how to start due to shock or nerves.
Step 2. If the person is not breathing normally tilt their head back and pinch their nose. Blow into their lungs watching for the chest to rise. Give two short rescue breaths.
Step 3. Hopefully by now the victim will have started breathing normally but if not you need to begin chest compressions. You will be taught how to do this properly at your CPR classes. For now watch this video on continuous chest compression cpr which clearly illustrates the procedure. It is much easier to watch something than to read how to do it. You need to pump quite quickly on the person’s chest for 30 compressions, then 2 breaths and back to compressions. Continue until the emergency services arrive even if the Victim doesn’t appear to be responding. This last one is probably the most important of the CPR steps, except calling for the emergency services.
The complications that may arise will depend on what caused the cardiac arrest. If the person was involved in road traffic accident they may have internal bleeding and other injuries such as a head trauma. But even if the person hasn’t had an accident but collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest he or she can vomit when you are doing CPR.
If the victim vomits you need to clear it away as soon as possible or they will choke. You also need to keep the CPR going. Reading this can make the process seem more complicated than it actually is. Virtually anyone can learn how to perform CPR which is a life saving skill, however we do tend to forget what we have learnt over time. For this reason you not only need to get your CPR certification but you also need to keep your knowledge up to date as CPR guidelines are subject to change.
Sudden cardiac arrest tends to happen in the home or in the vicinity of friends. You often hear of tragic events involving children drowning and their parents trying to resuscitate them. Both the Red Cross and the American Heart Association offer CPR courses at convenient times and reasonable costs. Why not check out one today and soon you will know exactly how to carry out the essential CPR steps.