It begins as a normal evening. You’ve gone out to dinner and taken in a movie. As you move towards your car, tired and sated, you hear a commotion – yelling – from a few feet away. A man has collapsed. He is lying, seemingly unconscious and not breathing, on the ground before his vehicle. People are panicked, searching for cell phones, calling for help but not moving towards him. He will not receive aid until the paramedics arrive; by then, it could be too late. He will die on the concrete, unless you step forward. Will you? Could you?
One in ten victims of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests survives, meaning 90 percent die. This could be changed if more individuals learned CPR, if you learned CPR. Mouth to mouth resuscitation or even just chest compressions can bring a person back to life. They can offer a second chance to turn health around and make you a hero. It may seem like a lot of responsibility, particularly when the “hero” title is used, but in truth, CPR is a relatively simple process that once learned, stays with you. Ten years after your initial training, the rules of first aid could still be in your mind, waiting to be remembered and used. If you can, take a CPR class and renew your certification annually. Meanwhile, learn the basic steps of the technique, so the next time a normal night turns into a medical emergency, you can and do step forward. And remember, if there is no heartbeat or sign of breathing, CPR must be started within three minutes; don’t hesitate.
1. Shake and Shout – Make sure that the victim is truly unconscious. Shake him, asking simultaneously if he is okay or can hear you.
2. Call 911
3. Clear the Airway – With the palm of one hand on the victim’s forehead and two fingers of the other under the chin, tilt the head backwards to displace any possible obstructions.
4. Check for Breath – Watch the victim’s chest, listen at his airway and attempt to feel his breath against your cheek. If he is breathing, you do not have to perform CPR.
5. Breathe – Pinching the victim’s nose and with the head tilted slightly, breathe twice into his mouth. Each breath should be approximately one second in length.
6. Compress – Place the heel and palm of one hand on the center of the victim’s chest in between the nipples, laying the heel of your second hand atop the first. Press down hard and fast, pushing down 1.5 to two inches with each compression.
7. Cycle – For every two breaths, do 30 compressions, then two more breaths. Continue alternating breaths and compressions until the paramedics arrive, or the victim regains consciousness or begins breathing.