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How to save a life

Emergencies can happen at any moment, at any place, and to anyone. In fact, a quarter of all Americans admit to being in a situation where cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was needed, reports the American Red Cross.

However, 70 percent of bystanders reported feeling helpless in situations that required CPR, such as cardiac arrest, according to the American Heart Association.

During cardiac emergencies, performing CPR can double or triple survival rates, according to the AHA. Yet, only 32 percent of cardiac arrest victims receive CPR. While emergencies often happen in public or at work, nearly 88 percent of cardiac arrests happen at home. That is four out of every five cases, or nearly 383,000 each year. With figures like these, it is important to be prepared and ready to respond to an emergency at home or work. Fortunately, everyone can learn the first aid and CPR skills needed to save lives.

“Many people appear healthy and may have no history of heart conditions. Sudden cardiac arrest is just as it sounds, sudden. Without help from a bystander a person in sudden cardiac arrest will not survive," said Brandy Meyer, owner of Meyer CPR and First Aid in Ceres. "The person that needs to be saved will possibly be a loved one. It will most likely be a child, spouse, parent or friend. Failure to act in a cardiac emergency can cause unnecessary death.”

Meyer's business lives up to its motto, ‘ready to respond,’ and believes that heroes are not born, they are trained.

“Due to the physical requirements of performing CPR and first aid, it can be a challenge, so the more people who are trained, the better. Multiple people trained in CPR during an emergency can really enhance the possibility of survival,” said Meyer.

For this reason, she recommends certification for everyone, from babysitters to those who work in retail stores, and every employee in between.

Meyer said that Learning CPR and first aid is important to anyone who is willing to help in an emergency.

“Both CPR and first aid might be needed at anytime. Emergencies happen at work, at home, and even on the road or out in public.”

Meyer said she has known of several accounts where training has saved lives, from young students suffering from sudden cardiac arrests to car accidents, “You just never know when training will be used and crucial in helping someone in need.”

There are various levels to CPR and first aid certification.

“Each level includes learning the newest techniques for CPR and first aid and, depending on which level they are taking, can also include AED (automated external defibrillator) and more in depth training.”
This can also include what to do in case of a choking emergency and what bystanders can do to help someone in an emergency until a professional rescuer arrives.

Being prepared means getting certified. Certification, added Meyer, requires participation in hands-on practice skills in addition to passing the written test given at the end of each course. In most cases, certification lasts for two years.
“Recertification is important because guidelines are always changing and being updated as new techniques and technology are being used,” said Meyer.

Since the earliest records of CPR date back to1740, many things have changed.

For Example, in 2008, the AHA changed the guidelines for CPR with the advancement of "compression only or hands only" CPR.

“Studies showed that some people would hesitate to perform CPR because they were not comfortable putting their mouth on a victim's mouth to perform rescue breaths,” said Meyer. “The studies also showed that adults have enough oxygen in our blood cells to sustain life for some time and compressions are more important in some circumstances than giving compressions with rescue breaths.”
In addition to this alternate form of CPR, which Meyer’s classes also cover, compression rates have been updated to 100 compressions per minute, which is faster than previously recommended.

Meyer stressed that anyone trained and certified to perform CPR and/or first aid has an advantage over anyone who has not taken a course. However, anyone who is willing to help in an emergency is useful for the simple reason that “doing something in an emergency is better than nothing.”

Find a CPR or First Aid Class Near YouThe American Red Cross

1230 6th St., Modesto
(209) 523-6451

Redcross.orgThe American Heart Association

(408) 977-4950

Heart.orgMeyer CPR and First Aid

(209) 988-6166