National CPR and AED Awareness Week: Knowing CPR Can Save Lives

National CPR and AED Awareness Week: Knowing CPR Can Save Lives

Congress has established the first week of June as National CPR and AED Awareness Week.   In Indiana, Illinois, and the rest of the country, health and safety organizations take this week as an opportunity not only to educate people about the need for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) but many give lessons for free or for a small fee to those interested in learning how to perform CPR. There are even online CPR courses that can be accessed 24/7.

What is CPR and What are AEDs?

1.  cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), as explained by the American Heart Association, involves manual chest compressions and mouth ventilations to someone who is suffering from cardiac arrest.  It is an emergency procedure and a temporary one: CPR is performed until trained emergency medical care arrives on the scene.

CPR is something that must be taught, though it is easy to learn.  CPR also has risks: sometimes, for example, ribs are cracked in life-saving measures.  Different types of CPR are needed for different victims: babies need special consideration, as do the elderly and those suffering other injuries (e.g., accidents), etc.  It is very important to have CPR training and to refresh that training periodically.

2.  automated external defibrillators (AEDs)

Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are small, battery operated machines capable of providing an electric shock to a human heart if needed.  The electric shock may be vital to resetting the heart to a stable, normal rhythm.  Costs of AEDs are reasonable for most companies and schools to purchase: AEDs can be found for sale today at prices between $1300 – $1600.00.

How Can You Be Ready if Someone Needs CPR?  Just Remember the Bee Gee’s Hit “Stayin’ Alive” Advises University of Indiana

The University of Indiana has released the following information as part of National CPR and AED Awareness Week.

INDIANAPOLIS – For some, learning CPR can be confusing or intimidating. Indiana University Health Cardiovascular is reminding Hoosiers during National CPR and AED Awareness Week, June 3-9, that CPR can be simple: Eliminate the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and perform chest compressions to the beat of a classic disco song.

Hands-only CPR has been shown to have as much as a 60 percent higher survival rate than conventional CPR. It’s simpler than conventional CPR and eliminates second-guessing of breath-to-compression ratios. The American Heart Association notes hands-only CPR consists of three steps:

  1. Position the person face-up on a hard, flat surface
  2. Place one hand in the center of the victim’s chest and interlock the other on top
  3. Start compressing the chest hard and fast to the beat of the Bee Gees hit “Stayin’ Alive” until the person starts to breathe or move, or medical staff arrives (the song is the equivalent of 100 beats per minute and, thus, ideal for CPR)

“Hands-only CPR is much easier to learn than conventional CPR and the more people you have trained in CPR, the better your chance of surviving a cardiac emergency,” said cardiologist Dr. Ed Harlamert, with IU Health Saxony Hospital. “IU Health encourages all Hoosier adults during National CPR and AED Awareness Week to learn this very basic, but very valuable and life-saving skill.”

IU Health is attempting to train 1,000 of its non-clinical Indianapolis employees June 3-9 in hands-only CPR. Some trainees will also receive “anytime kits,” which include information for instructing families and friends in hands-only CPR. In addition, IU Health will be donating five portable automated external defibrillators (AED) to communities across Indiana June 3-9.

IU Health shares the American Heart Association and Red Cross’ goal that at least one person in every home is trained in CPR because immediate, effective CPR can more than double a victim’s chance of survival. More than 300,000 people experience sudden cardiac arrest outside a hospital setting each year and less than 8 percent survive.

Interested in learning CPR?  The American Heart Association can help you find a local course.


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