By Erin Hagan
Did you know that every year in the U.S., about 350,000 cases of cardiac arrest happen, and around 10,000 of those occur in workplaces? The CDC recommends getting familiar with recognizing heart attack signs, practicing CPR, and understanding how to use automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to contribute to the safety of others.
Now that it’s American Heart Month, it’s the perfect time to explore insights into handling cardiac emergencies and understanding the importance of CPR.
The Truth About CPR
Immediate CPR can double or triple the chances of survival after cardiac arrest by maintaining blood circulation, preserving brain function, and preventing secondary complications. However, about 70% of Americans find themselves uncertain when faced with a cardiac emergency, either due to a lack of CPR knowledge or the fear of unintentionally causing harm. The good news is that getting CPR certified is not just for medical professionals – it’s a crucial skill accessible to everyone!
Workplace Safety Training
Participating in CPR training offers a beneficial team-building experience, providing employees with life-saving skills while also fostering stronger relationships and boosting morale within the organization.
Training options, including blended learning with online modules and in-person sessions, vary. For example, the American Red Cross provides on-site group training for workplace safety, while the American Heart Association (AHA) offers comprehensive programs for different audiences and skill levels.
What Happens in CPR Training?
When embarking on the journey of CPR training, the main goal is to gain the knowledge and confidence to respond effectively in a cardiac arrest emergency. Here are some of the key subjects covered in these training sessions:
- Identifying Symptoms: Participants learn to recognize signs of cardiac arrest and symptoms of a heart attack, enabling them to intervene promptly. Common signs include chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeats, loss of consciousness, etc.
- Understanding CPR: Individuals acquire essential CPR techniques, including proper hand placement and maintaining a compression depth of 100 to 120 beats per minute, following AHA recommendations. Rhythmic patterns with familiar songs like “Stayin’ Alive” are often helpful. Modern guidelines prioritize hands-only CPR for greater effectiveness over mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths.
- Using an AED: CPR can buy time until an automated external defibrillator (AED) delivers life-saving shocks. An AED helps restore the normal heart rhythm. Trainees gain an understanding of how AEDs work and practice hands-on with training AEDs to learn their step-by-step usage. CPR skills combined with AED knowledge provide a more comprehensive approach to emergency response.
- Engaging in Scenario-Based Practices: People participate in realistic emergency simulations, applying CPR and AED skills amidst challenges like limited space, noise, or varying weather conditions. These scenarios not only enhance technical skills but also critical decision-making abilities.
After completing the certification training, participants demonstrate hands-on skills, take a written exam, and upon successful completion, receive CPR certification valid for approximately two years. This not only prepares them for emergencies but also opens opportunities to share their knowledge.
Be a Heartbeat Hero
Exploring CPR knowledge individually, championing workplace training, or even just spreading awareness all play a vital role in fostering a heart-healthy community. Collectively, these efforts contribute to a safer and more prepared environment for everyone.