It can be hard to make sense of the facts when it comes to first aid and basic life support skills. From first aid courses to articles online, there is a lot of information available, and it can be difficult to distinguish the facts from misinformation or myths. Follow along to find out real facts about cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) that everyone should know so that you can help save lives in an emergency situation. These simple facts cover the basics of what you need to know, and CPR/AED training will teach you all of the skills you need to know in order to handle a variety of medical emergencies.
Know The CPR/AED Basics:
- When a person is unresponsive, CPR must be administered immediately. CPR manually pumps blood to the heart and provides oxygen to the brain which prevents serious organ damage, brain damage, or death. The American Heart Association reports that when CPR is performed right away, a victim’s chances of survival are double, or even triple, what they are when CPR is not performed immediately.
- CPR is not intended to restart a heart. AEDs are required to deliver a shock that can restart the heart in the event of a cardiac arrest.
- Continue to perform CPR and leave an AED on and running, even after you’ve called for help. While an AED can provide a shock to correct fatal arrhythmias of the heart, these arrhythmias can recur, even after a shock is administered. CPR pumps blood and oxygen to the major organs in the body, but it only works while it’s being performed. Don’t stop treating a victim until a first responder like a fire fighter or EMT has arrived at the scene and is ready to take over.
Tips for Performing CPR and Using an AED Properly:
- CPR should be performed at a rate of about 100 compressions per minute. You should push down firmly on the victim’s chest with both of your hands, compressing approximately 2 inches down. It can be difficult to sustain performing CPR on your own – ideally you can take turns switching out with another person so you can take a break from the compressions.
- CPR is safe to perform, even if you don’t have CPR certification or education in first aid or basic life support. You should always attempt to perform CPR in an emergency situation, even if you’re not sure if it’s required, keeping in mind that there is little chance of harming the victim by doing it wrong. When in doubt, don’t delay in administering CPR, as even a minute or two can make a difference in a victim’s survival.
- AEDs are simple to use; even elementary school children have demonstrated the ability to use the equipment. In the case of an emergency, the voice automation feature will walk you through how to use the device and will instruct you on exactly how to use it to save lives.
No matter whether you’ve completed CPR/AED training or you’ve just read these basic tips, it’s always important to get involved in an emergency. Even if you don’t have full CPR certification or have never tried operating an AED, it’s critical that you attempt to help when someone’s life is at stake. Delivering CPR or using an AED within the first minutes of a cardiac arrest will greatly increase a victim’s survival rate.
Consider combining your new knowledge of these basic facts with a comprehensive training course that will teach you all of the tools you need for basic life support and first aid, as well as how to properly use an AED and how to perform CPR. Training on CPR and AED techniques will increase your education and give you the confidence that you need to step in when an emergency occurs.