Thursday, January 19, 2012
Heartsaver/AED Classes (CPR and Defibrillators)
My husband and I are now certified through the Heartsavers/AED program thanks to the Eureka MO Fire Department. This means that we have the basic knowledge to start CPR and use the AEDs (automated external defibrillators). Using training dummies, we practiced AED operation (using trainer devices) which is used in conjunction with CPR.
Even if you have been CPR certified in the past, it is worth a refresher because there are updated 2011 instructions. You can see a demo in the video above; however, our trainers said that checking for a pulse is no longer necessary. Studies indicate that people were taking too long to find the pulse at the expense of chest compression.
The new instructions begin with compression followed by breaths, in our case using special reusable masks with one-way breathing tubes. We were warned that during a heart attack, while receiving CPR, most victims vomit. You will want the mask. A one-time use only mask that folds up is also available. Since we are CERT trained, we will get the full mask and keep in our bags. They also advised that it will help to protect us, as first responders, from disease. Even small children are carriers of hepatitis or other communicable diseases.
It is hard work performing the chest compressions. You have to get a 2 inch compression for thirty compressions very quickly followed by a couple of breaths, enough to raise the victim's chest. They recommend keeping the beat to the song, Stayin' Alive, in your mind for the proper rate. You need to maintain this compression/breath technique until the AED can be hooked up to analyze the heart. It will provide verbal instruction the entire time, warning when to stay clear and when to administer the shock. Any bystander can operate it. It may then instruct you to resume compression/breaths until official help arrives.
I hope we won't ever have to use this, but just in case we want to be prepared.
American Heart Association CPR