We’re headed into summer! Well, maybe. It’s currently the middle of May and I have yet to see a week without at least 2 days of snow in 2019 Oh, Wyoming. *Sigh.*
But snow or shine, June is fast approaching, and we’ve got an important topic to recognize during the first week: CPR and AED Awareness Week.
From June 1-7, we are taking time to observe the fact that cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States. CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and AED (automated external defibrillators) are the methods used to revive victims of cardiac arrest, which can occur suddenly and without warning.
Cardiac arrest is triggered by an electrical impulse that causes an arrhythmia (irregular beat) in the heart, preventing it from transporting blood to the person’s brain, lungs, and other vital organs. Although those sound like big, fancy, medical terms, I’m here to tell you that they’re not. CPR and AED are simple, important techniques for every person to be aware of and ready to put into action whenever necessary.
According to the American Heart Association, 475,000 people die from cardiac arrest annually in the United States. Perhaps the most unfortunate part of this statistic is that many of these deaths can be prevented by bystanders like you and I. Currently, only about 46% of people who experience cardiac arrest (not in a hospital setting) receive the immediate help they need in time before emergency paramedics can arrive, which can range from 4 to over 10 minutes. But wait, there’s good news too!
Call 9-1-1 as soon as you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse.
Push hard and fast in the center of the individual’s chest at a rate of 100 to 120 beats per minute. It often helps to try to hum or sing a song in your head- “Alexa, play “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees!” (Okay- you probably won’t have your Alexa with you, but you see my point!)
And, if an AED is quickly accessible when you see a cardiac arrest occur, it is easy to use! Simply turn it on and follow the visual and audio prompts it instructs you in. Trust me, it’s a lot less intimidating than looking back and wishing you had done something after it’s too late. However, in most cases, an AED is probably not near. Get this though: you’re still qualified to save a life.
If you take action during a critical moment, you can nearly triple the person’s chances of survival. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you aren’t qualified or certified enough to step in and save a life! There is no special training required to perform Hands-Only CPR, and time is of the essence.
For every minute that passes without CPR, the individuals’ chances of survival decrease by 10%, and research shows that 90% of cases of cardiac arrest happen either in public or at home.