National CPR and AED Awareness Week (June 1-7) spotlights how lives can be saved if more people know how to perform CPR and use an AED.
About 70% of heart-attack related deaths occur before the person reaches the hospital. Therefore, the combination of calling 911, early CPR and early AED use give the best chance of survival for cardiac arrest victims.
The importance of early CPR and early AED use
When responding to a cardiac arrest emergency, every second counts.
Brain damage begins after four to six minutes without oxygen. Brain death may occur after 10 minutes without oxygen.
This is often not enough time for EMS personnel to arrive, even in the best response time scenarios.
Bystanders (e.g. family members, co-workers, the stranger next to you, etc.) are the key to survival.
Bystanders have the ability to react and respond immediately. However, it’s common that bystanders aren’t confident in recognizing signs of cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, this can result in delayed care or worse: not calling 911 at all.
How do we solve this disconnect?
We start by taking every opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of early CPR and early AED use. We let the public know that even if they don’t have formal training, they can still make a huge difference in saving someone’s life.
Compression-only CPR saves lives
In a perfect world, everyone would be trained to provide high-qualify chest compressions and rescue breaths. This combination provides oxygen to the brain to keep it alive. It’s the gold-standard for buying the victim time until EMS professionals can arrive and provide advanced care.
But the reality is that many bystanders haven’t received CPR and AED training. Their knowledge of CPR may be limited to what they’ve seen on TV. Even if they have gone through training, it may have been many years ago, and therefore, they feel like they don’t know what to do.
This is where compression-only CPR becomes vital.
Anyone can provide compression-only CPR, with or without training. When we break down the components of CPR, we know that high-quality chest compressions have the biggest impact on survival of cardiac arrest.
So, we need to push simple language surrounding compression-only CPR:
Push hard and push fast in the center of the chest until help arrives.
The more we can simplify an untrained bystander’s response, the more likely they will intervene. In turn, we can save more lives.
Get certified in CPR, AED and First Aid
We encourage every person to get training in CPR, AED and First Aid, regardless of their work requirements. Most cardiac arrest events happen in homes, which means bystanders will most likely use these lifesaving skills to save the life of someone they love.
Contact your local HSI Training Center to learn about in-person and remote options.