Are You a Lifesaver?
Even if you think you are not a lifesaver, you may find yourself in a situation where someone needs emergency care and you are the only one to help. Will you be ready?
Hundreds of thousands of cardiac arrests happen outside of a hospital each year. They happen in homes, in grocery stores, and at movie theaters. Cardiac arrests usually happen without warning. Once a person has a cardiac arrest, the clock is ticking. Calling emergency medical services is good, but the chance of the person surviving drops 10% every minute that CPR is delayed. If EMS doesn’t arrive within four minutes, brain damage is already starting. If you are a lifesaver, you need to start CPR right away.
You may be saying, “I don’t know CPR” or “I’ve never had basic life support training.” While high quality CPR is better than poor quality CPR, any CPR is better than no CPR!
This is no time to be polite. Yell at the patient and find out if they are conscious. If not, assume they are in cardiac arrest.† If you can, send someone to call 911 and get an AED. If you are alone, call 911 before you start CPR. If you know where there is an AED close by, go get it first.
You’ve seen CPR on television—just get down there and do it. Place your hands in the center of the victim’s chest, at the base of the rib cage. A chest compression means pressing down two inches. A chest compression squishes the heart and pushes blood through the body. Let the chest bounce back all the way. This lets blood fill the heart again. Keep doing this quickly—100 times a minute. If you don’t know how to do mouth-to-mouth, don’t worry about it. Chest compressions are the real lifesaver.
Keep CPR going until help arrives. If you have an AED, use it. AEDs supply simple pictures and voice commands for you to follow—no experience necessary.
Want to be a real lifesaver? Get certified in Basic Life Support. You really could save a life!
† It doesn’t hurt to do chest compressions on someone with a pulse if you are in doubt. If you know how to check for a pulse, do it quickly. If there is a pulse, don’t do chest compressions. No pulse? Start chest compressions.