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Second Quarter 2013

Helping to Save a Life with CPR
By: Bobby McIlquham

Every day, Americans wake up to a new, fresh beginning from the challenges they might expect. But no one expects to wake up and know they might see the person next to them suddenly experience cardiac arrest. Will you or someone around you know what to do?  Who will you call in the event of an emergency? Are you properly trained to assist in CPR?

According to the American Heart Association, about 92 percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital, but statistics prove that if more people knew CPR, more lives could be saved. Immediate CPR can double, or even triple, a victim’s chance of survival.


Employers and employees need to be aware of signs and symptoms that occur when someone begins experiencing a heart attack. Most heart attacks start slow with pain and discomfort, resulting in individuals to overlook the situation. With early detection by being checked out with your physician, serious heart attacks can reduce significantly and reduce future health problems. Signs and symptoms to look for in an individual who might be experiencing a heart attack are:

• Chest pain or discomfort in the center of chest that last more than a few minutes.
• Discomfort in the upper body (Arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach)
• Shortness of breath
• Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

When an employer or employee begins experiencing these signs, immediate response is crucial by dialing 911. The sooner a response team is on site to assist, the better chance of survival that individual has.

If you come on to a scene where an individual suddenly collapses due to a heart attack, it’s important to act fast to assist to the individual. The American Heart Association’s “5 links in adult Chain of Survival” are:

• Immediate recognition of cardiac arrest and activation of the emergency response system
• Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with an emphasis on chest compressions
• Rapid defibrillation
• Effective advanced life support
• Integrated post- cardiac arrest care

A strong Chain of Survival can improve chances of survival and recovery for victims of heart attack, stroke and other emergencies. The first step when assisting a victim who is experiencing a heart attack is calling 911.  If you are trained in CPR/AED, the next step is to check the airways for obstructions/ objects that might be lodged in the throat. Check for the rise and fall of the chest to determine if the individual is/ is not breathing and followed by checking for a pulse. If you experience no signs of breathing, immediate CPR should be applied.

In the event where someone is experiencing cardiac arrest, applying CPR can greatly increase the chance of survival. Cardiac arrest can happen at any point in time, and with the proper training of CPR, employers and employees with have the knowledge they need to help save a life.

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