Restart a heart

Lyle Karasiuk teaches Coun. Blake Edwards some tricks for CPR while Councillors Dennis Nowoselsky and Evert Botha look on. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

Lyle Karasiuk was hoping to get a very simple message out on Oct. 16 — learn CPR and how to use an automatic external defibrillator (AED). Tuesday was world heart restart day, an international day of awareness to make people aware of how easy it is to do CPR or to use an AED.

“A sudden cardiac arrest is one of those life changing events that can happen anywhere,” Karasiuk said.

“At a hockey game in your community club, at your home — and somebody being able o react and do something while trained rescuers are en route will mean all the difference.”

The awareness day has been big in Europe and the United Kingdom for a number of years, and is just now gaining steam in Canada, Karasiuk said.

In 2018, with most people carrying smartphones in their pockets, learning how to give CPR or use an AED is easier than ever.

“In today’s world, you can learn how to use these things right on your phone, from an app or on the internet,” Karasiuk said.

“That’s the easiest way. If people want to have someone come to their facility, I’m usre one of our paramedics would be ahppy to engage in a community presentation. If you need certification for your job, your school or some other activity, give us a call as well. There are many ways you can learn it.”

The important thing, Karasiuk said, is to not just stand there in an emergency situation, looking into the crowd asking if anyone knows what to do.

“All it takes is your two hands,” he said.

He stressed that people not trained in first aid, or people who don’t have a barrier to use, shouldn’t worry about breathing into a stranger. Just check to make sure they’re not breathing and there are no signs of life, face them upwards, nose to the sky, put one hand over the other in the middle of the person’s chest, and start pushing.

“CPR is so easy. We teach it over the phone. Our emergency medical dispatch team does it every day if somebody calls.”

Calling 911 is the first step, Karasiuk said. But once that’s done, starting chest compressions can make the difference for the victim while help mobilizes.

“Put one hand on top of the other of your hands and push down in the centre of their chest. That’s as easy as it is to start CPR,” he said.

“It’s not any simpler than that. It’s not going to be complicated. Today is a great day to get people to learn CPR or grab an AED. If you don’t have either, let us help you with that.”

For more information, contact Parkland Ambulance at 306-953-9800.

Staying alive

As portrayed in the famed clip from the American version of the sitcom The Office, the beat to perform CPR at is the same as “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees – about 100 beats per minute. It’s also the same as Crazy In Love by Beyonce, or every other beat of Kickstart My Heart by Motley Crue, and a little slower than Start Me Up by the Rolling Stones. But if you can’t remember any of those songs, or if you’re bad at staying on the beat, Karasiuk says to not worry. Instead, just remember to put your hands together and start pushing.