I heard a story recently about a woman who experienced a cardiovascular incident at work. Her heart stopped, she went without oxygen, and she didn’t make it. Would the outcome have been different if someone around her knew CPR or if there was an AED device on site?
My first exposure to CPR training was when I worked as a lifeguard for a local waterpark during one summer break from college. The training was intermixed with speed swimming and water rescue simulations, so it’s hard for me to recall what the CPR portion of the training entailed this many years later. Luckily I’ve never had to flex these skills, as a lifeguard or any other time.
As a registered volunteer with the American Red Cross, I was encouraged to complete Adult CPR and AED training. These trainings are offered free of charge to Red Cross volunteers so I happily signed up. CPR is a blended-learning course, requiring both an online and in-person portion. The online portion is meant to be completed before the in-person class to helps instill the CPR process before practicing with an instructor. The online course walked through different scenarios that could result in the need to use CPR and has the trainee identify the correct course of action step by step, including a simple method to memorizing the steps of CPR.
I completed the in-person CPR and AED portion with a classroom full of trainees, instructors, and props. Each person had their own simulation mannequin and AED machine to work with, along with multiple trainers available for questions and correcting form while the instructor coached us through the steps:
- Check your surroundings – ensure your environment is safe
- Call 911 – or identify someone else to call 911 while you begin CPR
- Open the airway – adjust the head and neck
- Check for breathing – look, listen, and feel
- Administer compressions – 100 beats per minute
- Deliver rescue breaths – 2 breaths, watch the chest rise and fall
- Continue compressions and rescue breaths until an AED becomes available or EMS arrives
I spent the majority of my training time getting the compressions down right. It’s not as easy as it sounds! Pressing down at least two inches and at a rate of 100 compressions per minute, while counting to 30 to then deliver two rescue breaths, then back to compressions, takes practice. Thankfully the AED device provides audible instructions, so you just turn it on and follow the directions. It was at this point that I really appreciated the blended-learning delivery of the course, because it allowed for the majority of the in-class time to be used for practice.
After a few cycles of practice and along with all my fellow trainees, I passed! I am officially Adult CPR and AED certified for two years.
Emergencies happen without warning and when least expected. I’m not someone who is always on the lookout for worst-case scenarios, but now I’m prepared. If you are CPR certified, reach out to your employer and identify yourself as someone with CPR training in the event of an emergency. This could make an impact. This could save a life!
To find out when and where the Red Cross offers CPR classes, go to Red Cross CPR Classes.