What do you do? Whatever it is, I’m sure you’d like to be a little better at it, wouldn’t you? There are so many little ways that a person can learn something new that will help them do their job or serve their constituency just a little better. Whether it’s a 15-minute video on Youtube or a 3 month software coding bootcamp, the training is readily available for anyone who is willing to learn. But there’s one type of training that’s different, and for that reason, better and more important: CPR.

How to Save a Life

Do you know CPR? In one day, you can. This Saturday, I renewed my American Heart Association CPR and First Aid certification, which is valid for two years. It took just over 5 hours to complete the course. Here’s a few of the major points of the course. (Note: it was not nearly as fun as this CPR training session.)

  • CPR starts with 30 chest compressions, followed by 2 breaths, in intervals of 2 minutes. When I was a lifeguard 150 years ago, they taught us to start with several breaths. That’s why we renew every 2 years.
  • You don’t stop chest compressions until your patient becomes responsive, paramedics arrive, or you become too exhausted to continue. I used to think CPR was to restart the heart. Not so. CPR is to act as the muscle of the heart, and actually do the pumping of the heart. That’s why you don’t stop.
  • Today’s AED machines are very smart. They provide complete audio instructions for how and when to deliver an electric shock to a person whose heart has stopped beating. Do you know where your office’s AED is?
  • If someone has a big cut that won’t stop bleeding and the gauze you put on first is completely soaked, you don’t take that gauze off. You cover it with more gauze or other material to soak up the blood.
  • Check that Epi Pen before you use it! The medicine should be clear. You can’t store an Epi Pen in your car in really hot or really cold weather. Extreme temperatures will ruin the medicine. Also, when you deliver an Epi Pen dose, count to 10 before removing the pen from the patient’s leg.

Confidence or Confusion?

These are just a few of the points from the retraining. Whatever you do, are you more confident when you have more knowledge and practice doing your job? The same thing applies to CPR, first aid, and other lifesaving skills.

You’ve seen the videos in these training classes, and you know they’re usually pretty corny. But one video was right on target. When a person collapsed near two people walking by, the video captured the walkers’ thoughts:

  • First person walking: “Boy, this looks bad!”
  • Second person walking: “I hope this guy knows what to do, because I sure don’t!

Which one do you want to be? It’s always nerve wracking to encounter a situation where someone’s life is in the balance. Having confidence in what to do in an emergency can and will help you as a co-worker, citizen, parent, teacher, community member, leader, employee…you get the point. It’s a win win.

Find a CPR class near you this week and up your game.


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