June 1-7 is National CPR/AED Awareness Week
In case of an emergency, would you know how perform a CPR? Or use an AED?
But why are CPR and AED important?
A CDC report estimates that 47% of cardiac deaths happen before the arrival of emergency services or arrival at the hospital. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), cardiac events can be fatal if CPR or AED is not applied with minutes of collapse. CPR alone can double or even triple a person’s survival chances in such situations. However, less than one-third of the victims receive CPR from bystander.
As part of this week’s CPR/AED Awareness program, AHA conducted an online survey of life-saving skills of the general public and the results are sobering.
Of 1,132 people who participated in the survey, 89% were willing to help in an emergency situation. However, only 21% of those asked felt confident enough to be able to perform a CPR and only 15%felt they could use an AED.
AHA is now stepping up on its campaign to convince people that CPR and AED can basically be done by anybody – not only those who have had medical training.
Most of us are familiar with CPR as we’ve seen in films and movies. We know that ordinary people like you and me, with practice, can do it. To make CPR even easier, AHA gives this tip: “The most effective rate for chest compressions is 100 compressions per minute – the same rhythm as the beat of the BeeGee’s song, “Stayin’ Alive.” Other tips can be found in this site.
But using an AED is another thing. Giving electric shock with a defibrillator is a pretty daunting task. Actually, AEDs are portable easy-to-use defibrillators which can be found in places where they might be needed in an emergency – schools, churches, and sports competitions. In the city of Zurich where we are now residing, they started a pilot project of placing AEDs in several public phone booths all over the city.
AEDs have been designed so they can be used by almost anybody even without previous medical training. According to AHA, AEDs are equipped with clear audio and visual instructions telling users how to use them. They are fairly simple and user-friendly. And a shock is delivered only when absolutely needed.
11% of the respondents to the AHA survey were not willing or were hesitant to help in an emergency situation due to several reasons – among them lack of confidence in their life-saving skills, fear of harming the victim, and – take note – fear of possible legal consequences. From my point of view, the latter is an excuse of utmost selfishness.
Performing CPR and using an AED in emergency situation are life-saving actions. We never know when we will be needed to act and whose life we will be saving. It could be the stranger on the street but it could also be our children, our partners, our friends. That is why we should always be prepared.