February is Heart Month

by Lyle Karasiuk

February is Heart Month! What better way to show someone you care than to give the gift of life by performing CPR or using an AED. Far too many people have taken a first aid and CPR class but for what ever reason do not step in too help. In fact, last year in Canada 2.5 million people were trained first aid but less than 25% used their new-found knowledge. There are many reasons people won’t help but often when asked it’s the fear of making a mistake or I might hurt them. GOSH people this person is dead, no heart beat, not breathing they are dead. They are not going to get any deader but just maybe you might save their life. Without your help, without you saying YES, I WILL TRY TO HELP, things will stay the same. Tell yourself, yes, I can do this, yes, I will do this.

Learning CPR is easy. Here’s a quick guide but we strongly encourage you to take a class.

  • One – recognize an emergency exists. Someone collapses in the lobby of a restaurant, at a sports event, while you stand in line at the bank.
  • Two – if it is safe, go and see if that collapsed person is okay. Try and wake them up.
  • Three – if you cannot wake them up, using your cell phone or tell someone else to dial 9-1-1 and get paramedics.
  • Four – if the person who collapses is not lying on their back, roll them on their back. Are they awake? Put your ear over their nose and mouth do you hear them breathing? Does their chest look like it is moving up and down? If it is no to breathing, don’t panic help is coming but you need to start help them.
  • Five – remove any bulky winter coats, but you can keep their shirt on for CPR not if you need to use the AED.
  • Six – take one of your hands and place it on the center of the person who collapsed chest. Please your other hand on top of the first hand. Now push down hard and fast. You need to push down at least 5 cm or 2 inches. Keep pushing in a nice equal rhythm fast enough that if hummed the old Bee Gee’s sound “Staying Alive” that’s your beat.

    Those of you who have been trained in CPR might be saying hold on what about the breathing part. We are providing simple instructions for compression only CPR. Yes, CPR is a combination of pushing down on the chest and giving air to the person but if you don’t have a barrier device, they have funny stuff coming out of their noise and mouth and they are a stranger would you be comfortable putting your mouth on theirs? I doubt it, maybe to someone you know and love like a spouse but I highly doubt a total stranger. So, don’t make it difficult push on their chest. Keep pushing till another person offers to help or a trained rescuer like a paramedic comes along to take over. IT IS JUST THAT EASY!

    Now let us hope the location you are at has an AED. What the heck do you do with that? Simply put first turn it on. It won’t work unless you turn it on. Then listen to the voice prompts from the AED and do what it says. Take your time, you will be nervous, this is not what you do normally. Just do what the machine says. But don’t stop CPR. Keep going you can do it. You can help someone.

    The big step is overcoming your fear that you don’t know what to do or you will hurt them. You can not make things worse. Things will only hopefully get better with your help. To learn more register for a first aid class with us. You can also invite one of our paramedics to your church, school or community group for a demonstration. Give us a call we are always willing to help. Doing CPR is very easy! Please be someone’s hero!