subscribe: Posts | Comments | Email

Mission: Take a CPR class this summer

11 comments
Mission: Take a CPR class this summer
One Beat CPR trainer Sgt. Brian Schnell gives chest compressions to an infant dummy using thumbs

One Beat CPR trainer Sgt. Brian Schnell gives chest compressions to an infant dummy using thumbs

Before my first child was born, my husband and I took a CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) class. We wanted to be prepared and know what to do if our baby choked or passed out.

That was seven years ago, and it turns out the CPR guidelines have changed since then. This week, I took a class with One Beat CPR, a local CPR training facility, and was happy to find out CPR is simpler than ever to learn and administer — a great idea for parents, caregivers or anyone who wants to feel prepared for emergencies. Summer is a good time to learn CPR, with more people in and around the water (with greater chances of drowning), and with a little more down time than usual (so you might have more time to take a short class).

One Beat CPR trainer Sgt. Brian Schnell shows how to do chest compressions

One Beat CPR trainer Sgt. Brian Schnell shows how to do chest compressions

At One Beat CPR, the trainers’ philosophy is to never tell anyone, “You’re doing it wrong!” which is a confidence boost to anyone taking the class. My trainer was police Sgt. Brian Schnell, who assured the class that even if you do it “wrong,” it might save someone’s life — in which case, was the CPR performed “wrong?” He even gave examples of everyday people, even kids, performing CPR not within the current guidelines and yet still saved lives.

Sgt. Schnell said even after training, people choose not to perform CPR for few reasons — and then told us why we should do it anyway:

1. They are afraid of doing it wrong. (Was it two inches above the belly button? How many breaths was I supposed to give? What if I do chest compressions and break the person’s rib?) Do what you remember from your CPR class, and even if you don’t get it perfect, you can save someone’s life. The longer a person doesn’t get help, the more their chances of survival decrease. In general, a person loses a 10% chance of life every minute that goes by when they stop breathing.

2. They are afraid of getting sued. Good Samaritan laws are in effect to protect people who try to help. Once you start CPR, though, you need to keep doing it until medical help arrives or the person revives.

3. They are afraid of getting sick from putting their mouth on the other person. Sgt. Schnell recommends carrying a protective mask that you put on a person in need of CPR, which allows you to breathe air into his or her mouth while keeping you safe. If you don’t have a mask, you don’t have to risk your life to breathe into the person. (You can get a mask in a pouch to carry on your keychain for $5 or less from Amazon.com and other suppliers.)

One Beat CPR trainer Sgt. Brian Schnell shows how to put a protective mask on a person needing CPR

One Beat CPR trainer Sgt. Brian Schnell shows how to put a protective mask on a person needing CPR

And of course, the best and first thing to do in an emergency is to call 911 to get professional medical help on its way.

Taking a CPR class is inexpensive, not time consuming, and a good way for families to feel they are prepared in emergencies when someone may have trouble breathing. You will not only learn CPR, but also how to use an AED (Automated External Defibrillator), which are installed in schools and other public buildings, restaurants and even at some parks. At One Beat CPR, I was surprised to see how easy it is to use an AED because the machine has an automated voice that tells you exactly what to do.

A CPR class can teach you how to use a defibrillator

A CPR class can teach you how to use a defibrillator

A defibrillator can save someone's life and is easy to use

An AED can save someone's life and is easy to use

If you live in southeastern Florida, check out One Beat CPR for a class. It was started by local firefighter paramedic Lon Rosen after his newborn daughter nearly died from an unknown congenital heart defect. If you live elsewhere, check with your local hospital for a class, or contact the American Red Cross or American Heart Association.

– – – – –

One Beat CPR offered me the chance to take a free CPR class to help spread the word about CPR preparedness. Opinions are my own.

Leave a Reply