Helping Hands

Helping Hands: CPR training, awareness increases odds of surviving cardiac arrest

June 4, 2014 

The first week of June marks the beginning of summer with graduation parties, vacations and other warm-weather activities most of us look forward to. Most people do not realize this week also reminds us how lives can be saved if more Americans knew CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator.

Centre LifeLink EMS invites you to celebrate National CPR Week and learn how you can help make our community a safer place by learning this lifesaving technique.

Anyone can learn CPR, and everyone should. According to the American Heart Association, 70 percent of Americans may feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency because they either do not know how to administer CPR or their training has lapsed. This statistic could hit close to home, because home is exactly where 88 percent of cardiac arrests occur.

Effective CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival, but only 32 percent of cardiac arrest victims get CPR from a bystander, according to the AHA.Sudden cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack. Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when electrical impulses in the heart become rapid or chaotic, which causes the heart to stop beating. Many victims of cardiac arrest appear healthy with no known heart disease or other risk factors; in fact, 27 percent of the cardiac arrest victims who Centre LifeLink responded to in 2013 were 50 or younger.

Centre LifeLink continuously strives to increase the survival rates of cardiac arrest victims in our community. Advances in emergency medical equipment — such as the Lucas machine that performs mechanical, standardized chest compressions — have increased the cardiac arrest survival rate in Centre County to 20 percent — almost double the national average.

While this number is encouraging, our community can take simple steps to increase it dramatically: Take a CPR class and increase the number of AEDs in the community. The bystander role is vital in the chain of survival. Centre LifeLink’s Health and Safety Training Center provides CPR classes at all levels. Health care provider CPR, community CPR, and a friends and family CPR, which focuses on CPR for infants and toddlers, are offered monthly at Centre LifeLink’s main station. Instructors also are able to accommodate private group classes for businesses and other organizations.

Centre LifeLink EMS also is the local chapter of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association. SCAA identifies and unites survivors and those at risk of sudden cardiac arrest. Each year, Centre LifeLink recognizes and unites sudden cardiac arrest survivors with the first responder and the bystander involved in their save.

In honor of CPR Week, Centre LifeLink will offer $100 off the purchase of an AED. For more information, or to register for a CPR class, visit www.centrelifelink.com, or contact the Centre LifeLink Health and Safety Training Center at 237-0774.

Lauren Shurgalla is the marketing, development and relationship manager at Centre LifeLink EMS.

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