November is CPR month. Open your wallet and take out your certificate. Is it dusty or more than three years old? Then it is time to renew it. There are no longer any expiry dates on CPR training, so you can book into a CPR renewal course at any time after the initial training.
When it comes to life-saving skills, CPR – or cardiopulmonary resuscitation – is one of the most useful and uncomplicated techniques to learn. It can be applied to casualties of drowning, hypothermia, choking, or sudden cardiac arrest.
At St. John Ambulance, we find the public can often be confused by the levels of CPR – A, C or HCP. The chart below shows what is taught in each level of CPR training to assist you in making the right choice for your situation.
The most common request for industry is for Level A CPR training. This is because most people work in an adult only environment. For those that have children at home or at work, you should consider the Level C CPR. For Health Care Providers, Level HCP is most appropriate as it includes instruction on using the Bag Valve Mask and other topics that are appropriate for a health care environment.
All CPR and first aid courses now include Automated External Defibrillation (AED) training. CPR, particularly when coupled with an automated external defibrillator (AED), dramatically increases the chances of survival.
What if I don’t know CPR? Don’t worry most machines have a CPR prompt that will tell you what to do. Remember the most important part of CPR is delivering regular, firm chest compressions. Need a rhythm? Try to remember the song Row-Row-Row Your Boat or Staying Alive by the Bee Gees.
Do you know what to do?
When coming upon someone who may have had a heart attack, here are the steps to take:
BEGIN EMERGENCY SCENE MANAGEMENT
1. Take charge.
2. Call out for help.
3. Assess hazards and make the area safe.
4. Find out what happened.
5. Identify yourself and offer to help.
6. If head or spinal injuries are suspected, support the head and neck.
7. Assess responsiveness.
8. Send or go for medical help and an AED.
Check breathing. If the casualty is not breathing. Begin CPR.
1. Make sure casualty is on a firm flat surface.
2. Place hands on centre of chest.
3. Position shoulders directly over hands and keep elbows locked.
4. Compress 30 times. Push hard – Push fast
5. Pinch nose and make a tight seal over the mouth.
6. Give 2 breaths.
7. Continue cycles of 30 compressions and 2 breaths until help arrives or an AED is available.
If you are untrained or unsure of your skills – don’t give up! Call 911 and give compressions only CPR – pushing hard and fast at a rate of at least 100 times each minute.
Rescue breathing devices are recommended to protect both rescuer and casualty from disease transmission. These hand units can be hung on a key chain and make great stocking stuffers!
Dianne Rende is the Executive Director of St. John Ambulance, Peel Dufferin Branch. As Canada’s leading authority in first aid, St. John Ambulance is dedicated to improving health and safety at work, at home and at play. Dianne can be reached by email at [email protected] or for more information visit www.sja.ca.