First responders working to sharpen public’s CPR skills with simpler method

Promoting "hands-only CPR," first responder agencies in the San Diego County Service Area 17 — Del Mar Fire Department, Encinitas Fire Department, Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District, and Solana Beach Fire Department — and ambulance service provider American Medical Response, are striving to increase survival rates within their communities and are already seeing positive results.

When someone suffers cardiac arrest, every second counts. But according to the American Heart Association, 70 percent of Americans feel helpless during emergency situations and hesitate to act.

To help ease those fears and increase the chances of patients getting the help they need, the agencies are promoting an aggressive “hands-only” CPR campaign.

The Heart Association has developed Hands-Only CPR, which involves two simple steps: 1. Call 9-1-1; and 2. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest. The association recommends doing so to the beat of the song “Stayin’ Alive,” which is the equivalent of 100 beats per minute. Continue giving compressions, 2 inches deep, until help arrives. If possible, switch off with another person every two minutes. CPR is tiring and the longer you do it, the less effective your compressions will be because of fatigue.

CSA 17 agencies have been providing free CPR education to schools, churches, Boy and Girl Scouts, and any group that has made a request to the departments.

“The goal is to empower the public, as immediate CPR can increase the person survival chances by 25 percent,” said Mary Murphy, CSA 17 Emergency Services Coordinator. “It cannot be stressed enough that doing something is better than doing nothing. Even incorrect chest compressions are more effective than no chest compressions. The first responders provide excellent patient care ... but having community members willing to commence CPR is crucial to patient surviving.”

To schedule a Hands-only CPR class, contact Murphy at 760-685-6402.

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