Staying Alive! Hands-Only CPR & AEDs

When is the last time YOU were CPR certified? Most of my friends were first certified during scouting years, then for babysitting as a teenager, then again when they had babies of their own. I know my last few certifications I did online, without benefit of the famous Annie mannequin. Last week, however, I had a recertification training that included an automatic external defibrillator (AED), and now I’m ready to light a fire under everyone I know to head to an American Heart Association (AHA) training!
There are two main messages that I would like to share:
1. You don’t always need to do mouth-to-mouth to save a life- “Hands-Only CPR” is very effective.
2. Using an AED is simple. Learn it!

To expand a bit…the AHA has been emphasizing “hands-only” CPR. Far more people are willing and can feel confident about chest compressions than the full traditional CPR with rescue breathing. The message is this: IF YOU WITNESS AN ADULT OR TEEN SUDDENLY BECOME UNCONSCIOUS, CALL 911 and then START PRESSING DEEP and FAST on that person’s chest. To make it even easier for us baby boomers, simply start singing John Travolta’s “Staying Alive” song to get the right pace!

As for the AED, the whole key here is AUTOMATIC. Truly, once you turn on the machine (press the power button), the machine literally talks you through the procedure. You are told to open the package with the pads and plug in the cord. The pads have diagrams showing you proper placement. This modern wonder analyzes the heart rhythm then instructs you out loud if you need to press another button to administer a shock to restart the heart. Best of all, there are only two buttons on the machine, clearly labeled and the shock button lights up and flashes when it is needed. Simple, right? And did you realize that most public places have AEDs now? From sporting arenas, to schools, churches, malls, airports, and restaurants, if you or someone you love has a sudden cardiac event that leaves him unconscious, chances are high that immediately effective help is nearby…if only someone is aware and willing to use an AED. While truly this procedure is simple enough to be learned from a video, attending a training and using your own hands to walk through the actions a few times will boost your confidence to a whole new level.

BOTTOM LINE: Take less than a minute right now and click on to the AHA website to watch their “staying alive” instruction video for hands-only CPR- the life you save is likely to be that of a family member or close friend!

PS. Kudos to Ericka Holmes for being such a terrific CPR instructor!

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