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


Candy C. said...

Wow! Good for you guys! I had never heard that about the vomiting, yeah, I would want a mask!

Yahoobuckaroo's Blog said...

Staying Alive? So do you pump on the downbeat 1 and 3, or on the backbeat 2 and 3, or is it more of a mixed syncopation thing? I'd be like Vinnie Barbarino at an accident site. "I'm so confused!"

Michelle said...

It never hurts to be prepared. It wouldn't hurt for us to learn . You never know when you could need it.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Yes, you never know. There are some drawbacks, or I should say considerations.

One is that it is extremely exhausting to perform and you will tire out within 5 minutes. Once certified, you have to either continue until you fall out or state that you cannot continue and give up efforts. You can't perform compressions with less force, it won't push the blood through the body. That being said, you also cannot hand off to anyone who is also not certified or you can be personally sued. The Good Samaritan Law no longer applies to you if you hand off to someone less trained but you can hand off to someone above your training such as a doctor or paramedic.

You also have big decisions to make about the mask. If you don't have one, would you help a stranger? One of our policemen performed CPR on another policeman (not an acquaintance) who had been hit by a vehicle during a traffic stop. He did not have a mask. It turned out that that law enforcement victim had aids and was not wearing any warning. This led to six months of testing to ensure he was not affected-remember you come in contact with bodily fluids between the vomiting and spit. It threatened his life and the security of his family. Big decisions.

My husband just heard over the police dispatch that there is CPR going on right now by someone trying to save a family member's life. Somewhere just up the road from us, emergency is responding. Here you go, a Saturday morning. Probably drinking coffee and having breakfast and the next thing you know you might be saving a life--if you are trained.

AED said...

I fully agree.. It's better that you understand how to use an AED compared to not even knowing what an AED is.

Go Viral Media said...

Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life.Heartsaver