Harrowing emergency situations are obviously distressing, but pretending accidents and injuries don’t happen isn’t an option. First aid and CPR skills can be learnt by anyone, and a little knowledge can be the difference between life and death. CPR certification will suddenly be extremely important in a life-threatening situation. CPR skills are well understood by paramedics and lifeguards, while regular people such as care-givers, babysitters and even new parents are attaining CPR qualifications in greater numbers than ever before.
First aid course providers such as Real Response dedicate time and resources to effectively teaching CPR steps in a classroom environment. They take the mystery out of frightful accident or injury treatment scenarios by empowering students with the right knowledge and skill-set. First aid courses, although dealing with extremely serious subject matter, are actually an enjoyable bonding experience that helps instil a sense of responsibility and capability in graduates. CPR steps are a lot more simple and straight-forward than most people realise. Anyone can learn how to perform CPR over the space of a few hours when taught by qualified instructors.
What do I do before commencing CPR?
Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time. The procedural CPR steps are the same for adults and children, although a dangerous location such as close proximity to electrical wires will present obstacles. Here are some basic CPR steps that serve most situations.
- D – Check the area for dangers: If there is a danger, remove or mange the number, if you cannot remove yourself and if possible the patient from the area.
- R -Initial response: If you are uncertain about the patient’s condition, try to get a response by talking to or touching the person.
- S -Call emergency services: Either call them yourself or if possible ask someone else to call.
- A – Check airways: The airways may need clearing prior to performing CPR if you see blood, vomit or anything else in the mouse or nose.
- B – Check breathing: Check breathing for 10 seconds, if there is no normal breathing, begin CPR. IF the victim is breathing normally they can be placed in the recovery position and monitored
- C – Start CPR: performing 30 compressions a third of the chest deep at a rate of 100-120 / min
- D – apply a defibrillator (AED) asap: If available attach a defibrillator to the patients bare chest and follow the voice commands
What are the next CPR steps?
The above stages should be performed quickly but not so rushed that you disregard first aid and CPR training or put yourself or others in danger. Speedy commencement of CPR provides the greatest chance of survival and full recovery. Although performed quickly, the above CPR steps will also give you a few moments to regain composure and proceed with confidence.
- Compressions: With fingers interlocked and hands placed over the victim’s chest, compressions can commence. First aid courses are essential for learning the proper hand placements, pressure application and regularity of compressions for best possible outcomes. Compressions involve fast push and release motions to force blood flow from the heart and around the body. Each compression takes less than a second to facilitate oxygenated bloodflow resembling that of a healthy person. Where applicable, rescue breaths will commence after the first 30 compressions.
- Rescue breaths: The mouth and airway needs to be clear of any blockage, including blood, vomit, food and loose teeth or dentures. Place one hand near the top of the patient’s head while using the other hand to tilt the chin and head backwards. Don’t bend the neck or use unnecessary force in case of neck or spinal injury. Pinch the person’s nose closed, take a good breath, seal your mouth over theirs and blow firmly enough to fill their lungs. Check to see if their chest rises. Perform two rescue breaths in quick succession before continuing with another 30 chest compressions. Repeat the procedure until the person regains consciousness or emergency services personnel arrive.
- Defibrillation: The pads should be attached above the right nipple and left and low of the left nipple. The moment the pads are attached, they will analyse the heart. This is the point you must stop touching the person. If the defibrillators – AED decides that a shock is needed it will charge then either automatically issue a shock or ask you to push a button to deliver the shock. At this point it is imperative that no one is touching the person. Immediately after defibrillation, compressions and breaths should be re-commenced at a ratio of 30:2.
Saving a person’s life can really be that simple, however, in the heat of the moment you might not think it’s so easy. As with anything in life, study and training are required to develop expertise and first aid courses are designed to facilitate successful outcomes. Understanding the above CPR steps in theory is a world away from being able to put them into practice in an emergency situation.
When should I stop CPR?
You should try to continue CPR as long as you can, ideally sharing the responsibilities of the compressions, breathing and defibrillation with others in the area. You should continue CPR until:
- Someone more qualified comes and takes over the scene
- The person recovers
- You become so physically exhausted that you cannot continue CPR
- It becomes too dangerous to continue CPR
What questions should I ask my CPR or first aid instructor?
We are all individuals with varying degrees of information assimilation. For example, if English is your second language, don’t be shy to ask questions even if they seem unimportant. The knowledge can only be applied properly if it is fully understood. Learning necessitates questions and answers and isn’t a passive experience. Questions asked during first aid courses include:
- How do I clear a blocked airway?
- Do choking or throaty noises mean the victim is actually breathing?
- Where should I check for a pulse? Or do I even need to check a pulse?
- How much time can I spare while phoning emergency services?
- How do I perform compressions on toddlers or babies?
- What situations are too dangerous to enter safely?
- What is the difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest?
Every situation is different and the list could go on. There are many online resources for learning CPR fundamental theory, but there’s no substitute for an experienced and professional teacher. Prevention is better than cure, but sometimes saving lives takes top priority and it can only be done by someone who knows what to do. Hopefully you will never have to use CPR skills in a real-life situation, but if you do, everyone will be grateful you made the effort to learn them.