About a week ago a lot of people realized the importance of CPR and using an AED.

I haven’t posted about the Bengals/Bills football game and Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest. I’ve seen a lot online. Quite a few instructors are using it as an example as to why you should take a CPR AED class. I’m not one to take advantage of someone else’s emergency for my own gain so I haven’t posted until now. I’ve seen a lot of posts and comments that I have not replied to, because, well… I didn’t want to get dragged into a conversation that I didn’t have time to fully respond to. But here is some info I thought I’d share.

Do I think a lot of posts about taking a CPR AED class are a good idea? Yes! Of course I think taking a class is a great idea! Just make sure your class is hands-on and not just online. It can be with us or any other awesome instructor. Personally I think EVERYONE should know how to do CPR and use an AED. But I also know that not everyone can or is able to.

Which is more important… CPR or using an AED? Both! Both work together! It’s not CPR or an AED… it’s CPR AND an AED. The 2 work together. CPR – Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation does the work the heart isn’t able to do. It moves blood and oxygenated blood through the body keeping the brain and important body functions working. The AED – Automated External Defibrillator – delivers an electrical shock that stops the hearts electrical short circuit so that it can restart with the correct electrical rhythm. AED’s don’t start the heart – they stop it so that it can restart correctly. Providing CPR and using an AED together is important!

What caused Damar’s heart to stop? I’m a CPR instructor and a former EMT-I, not a cardiologist. I could make some educated guesses, but an official statement from his medical team would be a better answer than asking me or asking online.

What should people do next? It looks like a lot of folks have donated to Damar’s charity which is awesome! I would think that Damar would also support donations to organizations that support CPR AED training and Cardiac Arrest Support such as the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross or the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation. You could also look at local youth programs in your community. Does your High School have an Athletic Trainer and CPR/AED trained coaches? Do your local schools or recreation fields have trained staff and access to an AED? Cardiac arrest can affect people of all ages, including healthy kids and young adults. In most communities they are working on their budgets for this current year. Does your city/town/municipality include CPR AED or First Aid training for teachers, recreation staff, coaches and other volunteers? If you’re not sure – ask! How can you help them to make sure their staff or volunteers are trained and have access to an AED?

How much does it cost to take a CPR AED class? It varies depending upon where you are, the certifying organization, and the equipment an instructor uses. Each organization that provides certification, such as the American Heart Association, American Red Cross, Health and Safety Institute, Emergency Care and Safety Institute, National Safety Council, and more; all charge fees to instructors to provide their programs. Plus an instructor has out of pocket costs for course supplies such as first aid materials, CPR manikin parts, and more. I can’t give you a price for all courses, but you can check our prices on our class info page.

Why should you take a CPR AED class? Well, because Heart Disease is the #1 cause of death worldwide. Despite coming out of a global pandemic, we are all most likely to have heart disease than any other disease or illness. Heart disease does not discriminate based on age, gender, or race. Anyone can have heart disease or suffer a traumatic cardiac arrest. If someone in your family collapsed… would you want to know what to do? If someone collapsed in line next to you at the store… would you want to know what to do? If someone in your family collapsed somewhere… would you want someone nearby who knew what to do? If the answer to any of these questions is YES … then you should take a CPR AED class.

Where can I find a CPR AED class? You can click on my Class Schedule link. You can also go to CPR.heart.org and click on find a class or visit www.redcross.org/take-a-class and enter in a class type. You can also check with your local hospital, fire department, recreation department or search online for a local class.

I wish the best to Damar Hamlin and his recovery. I am sure I am not alone in wishing that this had never happened to him.

No one wants to hear that their family member has suffered Sudden Cardiac Arrest. In almost every class I teach I emphasize to my course participants that early action – recognizing cardiac arrest, calling for help, starting CPR – is the best actions that we can all take. If the basics, such as CPR, aren’t started quickly – it won’t matter how well trained the paramedics are or how skilled the hospital staff may be. They won’t have a viable patient to work on if lay providers haven’t done basic CPR or used an AED. The basic steps of CPR are the beginnings of the chain of survival – all other advanced interventions cannot be successful if basic CPR hasn’t been performed quickly. Knowing how to do CPR and use an AED, or following the directions from 911 can make the difference for survival from Sudden Cardiac Arrest.

What is one thing you can do to help prevent or treat Sudden Cardiac Arrest in your community?

Safety First 2023
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