There are many important measures in place today that benefit communities; to me health and safety and law enforcement entities such as EMS/Fire/Police/Game Wardens and Park Rangers are a major component of community development. Each carries a vital life-saving piece of equipment (an AED), one which everyone should know how to operate – let alone how to perform CPR effectively.
My experiences over the last decade or so have increased my personal appreciation for understanding how to perform CPR/First Aid and how to operate a device known as the automated external defibrillator, or (AED) for short. More importantly, through practice I have gained the confidence within myself to focus and how to effectively try to assist someone during a life threatening situation, should such a situation occur.
As a CPR/AED/First Aid First Responder instructor, I was able to contribute to society the significance of life-saving tools. While some take CPR classes purely to fulfill a job requirement, others do so out of a genuine desire to be able to provide assistance when necessary. It is a privilege to instruct CPR / First Aid courses; there is nothing better than knowing that you have taught others how to potentially save a life. The American Red Cross and the American Heart Association are two of the top organizations for offering anyone life-saving skills. Both organizations have their own methodologies, but the rewards are far greater than the costs.
One of those rewards is the life-saving benefit of an AED. With our technology today a child could operate an AED. AEDs will tell you what to do and when to do it. It does not get any more straightforward. That is excellent for those who have never seen, operated, or even heard of an AED. An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a device that will send a current of electricity through your body, specifically, the heart, to reset the electrical current to a normal rhythm. Your heart is a pump that is pushing blood and oxygen throughout your body so you can live. Your heart as well as your entire body is run off of electrical impulses which tell your body what to do. During a heart attack the muscles in your heart stop working as they should be. This is called Myocardial Infarction or MI. This is because the electrical impulses synchronizing your hearts tempo has stopped the oxygenated blood from performing its main function which is keeping you alive.
Heart attacks are not a joke and will kill you if you do not take them serious. (You may die!) There are two types of issues transpiring when the electrical impulses of your heart are malfunctioning. One is called Ventricular Tachycardia (V-tach), when electrical impulses are firing so rapidly it is causing your heart valves not to function. The second is called Ventricular Fibrillation (V-fib), when electrical impulses are firing so unpredictably it is causing total electrical chaos and your heart is like an engine revving it’s rpms, but nothing is happening. This again is causing your heart valves not to function properly which are needed for pumping your oxygenated blood effectivity in a steady rhythm.
A heart attack is a loss of O2 circulating through your heart muscles causing your heart to work harder to pump the O2 throughout your body, in order to keep your brain and vital organs functioning properly. This is similar to an engine; the pistons need to run smoothly in the chambers to work. A cardiac arrest is when you are in real trouble, because your heart just stopped beating and or is too weak to pump anything and now you may be as close as 10 minutes away from death. That’s right, I said 10 minutes. The pistons have stopped moving; therefore the engine is inoperable.
Think about this. Put yourself in your dream location anywhere you want to place yourself. You are in your dream location, perhaps visiting the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Vatican in Rome, KilKenny in Ireland, or simply in your kitchen at home, and you are suddenly unconscious, not breathing, without a pulse, and you are about to never see your loved ones again. You are lifeless, have no control, and helpless. It is not like you can start CPR on yourself or slap those pads on yourself. So, you are dead and every single time that tic on the clock tocks away you lose a 10% chance of surviving every single minute that passes.
I know I would want to have someone around who would jump in to perform CPR and or use an AED on me. One of the most basic human instincts is survival and a desire to live. If my chances are within surviving a 10-minute window, from the time my heart stops until an AED is zapping me in the hopes that my heart would rectify its rhythm, I would want every minute.
Having the knowledge and ability to save a life is an invaluable asset, although that knowledge can be a burden, too, when all life-saving efforts fail. I applaud those who work in this capacity on a daily basis – i.e., EMS, fire, police, military personnel, etc. I appreciate the reality that I have the knowledge and ability to perform life-saving measures when, and / or if, necessary. For those who have never taken a CPR course, think about how this is not necessarily a large investment of your time or money initially (to take the course), but can be invaluable in the long run if and / or when you may have the opportunity to save a life. Would you rather know a little bit about how to perform CPR or use an AED, or would you prefer to think, “Well’s that will never happen to me”? Personally – I would prefer to have the necessary tools and knowledge rather than operate purely on hope that someone else will.
Take the time and believe me you will be happier knowing that if a situation arises and if you are called upon the assist, then you will know the basics of human survival. Staying alive…In one of my previous posts I discuss a singular moment when I had to use this priceless knowledge and knowing what to do rather than not helped in keeping my wits in the situation. It was a tragic day nonetheless, but knowing how to at least help someone settles my nerves just that much more. I call that piece of mind.
See you in the next post.