After a healthy 13-year-old boy in Georgia went into cardiac arrest on April 20, 2022, school staff rushed to his aid. Combining CPR and AED helped save Collin Etheridge’s life, and now he and his mother are campaigning for more first-aid training in schools.
This medical success story has influenced many schools across the state of Georgia to tighten CPR measures and extend training to their staff. But it isn’t just teachers and counselors receiving training – the students are, too.
Nonetheless, doubts regarding their ability to save someone’s life sometimes make bystanders slow to react. That is why communities are promoting CPR education and readiness – proceed below to learn how.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest: Why It’s a Nationwide Concern
Sudden cardiac arrest cases significantly contribute to the cardiovascular disease death rate in the US. Between 60% and 80% of people who go into cardiac arrest outside the hospital don’t survive the ambulance ride.
Because of the lack of oxygen supply to the system, those who do survive can suffer physical consequences such as injuries to the brain and other vital organs. Additionally, they may experience physiological distress like PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
The reason cardiac arrest poses a threat is that it is caused by numerous internal and external factors. It can also affect any part of the population and happen to anyone of any age, sex, or demographic. There may be no tell-tale signs or warnings before sudden cardiac arrest, and the person may appear perfectly healthy.
Statistics on Cardiac Arrest
In 2020, there were 436,852 deaths related to sudden cardiac arrest. The majority of SCA cases happen at home (73.4%), while the rest happen in public settings and nursing homes. Unfortunately, most victims die before EMS reaches them or before getting to a hospital.
In Georgia, women are less likely to receive CPR despite being most vulnerable to it, significantly decreasing their survival chances. Being prepared to assist anyone in cases of emergency can help keep the heart of Georgia beating.
The problem is that people generally do not feel qualified to act in such situations – let’s find out why.
What Is Stopping People From Helping?
There are many factors influencing people’s actions in these situations. Some cannot recognize the signs of cardiac arrest and confuse it with fainting or seizures. Such confusion leads to delayed action.
Another reason people give is the lack of knowledge. They do not think they are qualified to give CPR because they have no training or their training is not up-to-date. They are unsure of the correct technique and do not want to cause further harm. This misconception is most prevalent when the victims are women and children.
Another concern is legal liability in the case of the victim sustaining injuries during CPR. But states like Georgia have legislation to protect good Samaritans acting in good faith.
All of this shows the importance of being informed about CPR. CPR education and readiness can help solve or at least improve the issue of delayed action and refusal to help.
So, What Should You Do in Cardiac Arrest Situations?
The majority of SCA cases happen in the home. Anyone can witness a family member or loved one in medical distress. Even without CPR training, there are ways for bystanders to help.
First, check if the person is responsive and breathing. If they’re not, call or have someone else call emergency medical services. Next, start with continuous hands-only compressions. If you’re CPR-trained, you can also provide artificial breaths. Remain calm, and don’t stop CPR until medical professionals arrive.
The Importance of CPR
Studies have shown that a fast response from bystanders can significantly improve the outcome of SCA. It doubles and sometimes triples the survival rate and decreases the chances of permanent brain damage. It also increases the chances of better after-hospital recovery.
That is why many states, including Georgia, are actively promoting CPR education and readiness. To spread the message, Georgia has declared February 23, 2023 CPR-AED Awareness Day.
There are practical steps taken as well. For easy access during medical emergencies, AEDs have been made available in airports, gyms, schools, etc. Because every second matters, encouraging individuals and communities to learn about first aid and CPR is the first step to positive change.
Why CPR Education and Readiness Is Important for Communities
Spreading awareness regarding life-saving techniques benefits the entire community. When a large part of the community is familiar with first aid and CPR, they know the importance of giving fast and high-quality first aid.
When there is a higher percentage of immediate response during cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, the survival rates of patients also increase.
Individual Benefits of Being CPR Certified
There are many benefits to being CPR-certified – here are only a few:
- Being able to give aid during natural disasters, accidents, or emergencies
- Keeping calm during stressful situations
- Having a desirable skill on your resume
- Fulfilling a job qualification
- Knowing you have the skills to save someone in a dire situation. Saving a life is a reward in itself.
Who Can Take CPR Classes
Doors to CPR classes are open to anyone interested in learning CPR and contributing to their community. It doesn’t matter if you are a medical professional or an individual who simply wants to ensure the safety of their family and friends – CPR training is suitable for all who wish to make a difference. CPR can even be taught to children from age eight and up. Starting early means raising an entire generation confident in their life-saving abilities and CPR skills.
Besides medical professionals, many other sectors require their employees to be CPR-certified as well.
A few other jobs that require CPR certification are:
- School educators (teachers, councilors, school nurses)
- Kindergarten and nursery teachers
- Private nannies and babysitters
- Carers for the elderly
- Gym trainers and sports coaches
- Flight attendants.
This sentiment is spreading to the workplace as well. Large organizations and private businesses also recognize the need for CPR training. They are organizing classes for CPR education and readiness for their employees, increasing workplace safety.
What You Can Learn During CPR Training
During their CPR training, participants will learn:
- How to recognize signs of cardiac arrest
- How to react in emergencies
- The types of CPR
- The seven steps of CPR
- Proper CPR techniques
- How to use an AED.
They will learn to find a pulse, do chest compressions, give rescue breaths, and even use an AED. Also, participants learn how to adapt the CPR technique for any age demographic. In other words, you will learn how to use this skill in any situation.
Different courses teach different skills. Participants can also learn the basics of first aid, enabling them to tend to burns, administer an epi-pen, stop blood loss, deal with choking, and much more.
How to Complete a CPR Course
All you need to do is register for a training session and show up. Preparation in advance is not required – professional CPR trainers will teach you everything you need to know. After demonstrating your practical skills, there will be a written exam.
Classes in Georgia are offered by the American Heart Association and the Red Cross. Depending on the type of course, the whole session may last around 3 hours or a couple of days. For businesses and organizations, it’s possible to have trainers come to your premises and train large groups of employees.
Finally, you get your certificate upon completion. The certificate is valid for two years, after which you should renew it. This way, participants keep up-to-date with new information and techniques.
Classes are approved by the American Heart Association and compliant with OSHA regulations.
Taking swift and decisive action during medical emergencies significantly impacts the victim’s survival chances. CPR education and readiness give individuals the confidence and know-how to jump into action and help save lives.
CPR awareness empowers entire communities to offer help to others without hesitation. It noticeably increases the percentages of survival during an emergency and during and post-hospital care. More people educated and informed regarding CPR means more lives saved in the end.
So, let’s promote CPR education and readiness and keep the heart of Georgia beating.