When we talk about AEDs and CPR, we are talking about two lifesaving responses to America’s number one cause of natural death: Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). During an SCA, the heart suddenly stops beating, and blood can’t reach the brain or other vital organs. Over 350,000 episodes of sudden cardiac arrest happen outside of hospitals every year.
For every minute that an SCA victim goes without defibrillation or CPR, they lose 7-10% of their chance at survival. Because the average EMS response time is thirteen minutes, that means that bystanders on the scene are often the ones delivering this life-saving care. Some of us may be certified in basic – or even advanced – life support, but many of us haven’t had CPR training since high school gym class. So let’s talk about how to save a life.
The American Heart Association (AHA) describes the continuum of care for SCA victims as a five-link Chain of Survival. The five steps are as follows:
- Somebody recognizes the scene and calls 9-1-1
- Start CPR
- Deliver a shock with an AED, if available
- EMS arrives and delivers advanced care
- Post-event medical treatment in the hospital
How confident are you that you could perform the first three steps until EMS arrives? Here are some resources to educate and empower you to be an unexpected hero.
To recognize if somebody is having an SCA, use the “tap and shout” method. If a person is on the ground, seemingly unconscious, tap both shoulders aggressively and shout, “are you okay?”
Delegate somebody else to call 9-1-1 so you can immediately begin CPR.
The AHA has this crash course to educate bystanders on how to deliver proper CPR. You could also sign up for a class in your area. The two most important things about CPR are the rate and depth of compressions. To keep track of rate, time your compressions to the beat of “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees, or other songs that are between 100-120 beats per minute. Between compressions, make sure to come all the way off the chest to allow the heart chambers to fill with blood.
If there is an AED on scene, you’re in luck. Most AEDs will walk you through the steps of CPR and defibrillation as soon as you turn them on. To make sure that this life-saving device is there when you need it most, do some research about the AED laws in your state. Encourage local government and businesses to have an AED at the ready, all the time. You never know when you might need it. Call us at 800-695-1209 to discuss AED options today!