Becky Beavers hopes that one day Newton County will be the safest place to live in the U.S. The director of education at Newton Medical Center recently partnered with DeKalb Technical College to restart the CPR Saturday program, where local residents can learn CPR for free from trained professionals. She hopes Newton County will be able to catch Seattle, in which one out of every four residents is trained in CPR.
According to the American Heart Association’s website, CPR and defibrillation within the first 3 to 5 minutes after someone collapses can result in high (greater than 50 percent) long-term survival rates for a heart attack patient. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the CPR procedure.
The first local CPR Saturday class in more than a decade was held at DeKalb Tech’s main Covington campus and around 100 residents were trained in the life-saving procedure called cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Becky Hill, director of the American Heart Association’s Community Training Center located at DeKalb Tech, said turnout was a little lower than hoped, but she might revise the program and hopes to have another class in about six to eight months.
This local reporter attended the class to learn first hand how to become CPR trained.
Life Saving Steps for Adult Victims:
1. When you see a person have a heart attack, make sure the surrounding scene is safe as you approach them, in case the heart attack occurs in traffic or in another busy area.
2. Shake the person and ask him if he’s OK to see if he’s conscious. Also check for breathing.
3. If the person is unresponsive and not breathing, yell for help. If another person comes to assist, ask them to call 911 and look for an AED or Automated External Defibrillator. Beaver said AEDs are increasing in number and will soon be as common as fire extinguishers. If no one is around, you should call 911 and look for an AED yourself before beginning CPR.
4. To begin CPR, kneel next to the chest of the heart attack victim. Then tilt the victim’s head back and lift the chin placing two figures on the bone of the chin. Press the nose closed and give two two-second breaths while looking at the person’s chest to make sure it rises.
5. Even if the chest doesn’t rise, begin chest compressions. Locate the base of your palm in the middle of the chest, generally between the nipples. Put your other hand on top of the first hand, intertwine your fingers and begin pushing down with your arms and body, depressing the chest about two inches. Compress the chest 30 times at a steady, quick pace of 100 times per minute. A quick count of 1, 2, 3 provides the general pace.
6. Then give two more breaths and compress the chest 30 more times. Continue this pattern until the person starts breathing on their own or a paramedic arrives. Gasping is not considered breathing. Switch off with other bystanders as needed, as CPR will wear out the arms.
7. If someone finds an AED, follow the instructions contained inside the AED. Many of these systems now have automated instructions to calmly lead a person through CPR. Remove the victim’s shirt so the defibrillator pads can touch skin. Even a very hairy chest will prevent the AED from working properly. Avoid placing the defibrillator pads on top of a pacemaker. After shocking the victim, the machine will analyze his body and tell you whether you need to perform CPR.8. CPR for children is different and varies depending on age.
Raymond Cardona, a trainer who works with the Rockdale Fire Department, said even if someone doesn’t feel comfortable giving mouth-to-mouth they should still compress the chest. He said research shows that chest compression is the most important step, outside of using a defibrillator.
Residents who missed Saturday’s session or want to pass on their training to others can purchase CPR Anytime Kits from the NMC gift shop for $39.95. Gift shop manager Kathy Collins said the kits are great for everyone, especially those who are caregivers for the elderly. NMC gives a kit to every family that passes through the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit.
Once a person becomes CPR trained they can then become CPR certified. Contact NMC or Becky Hill at DeKalb Tech at (404) 297-9522 ext. 5319 for more information on CPR training and certification.