Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is required when a casualty has stopped breathing because they no longer have a flow of oxygen going round their body. The process requires a trained first aider to deliver chest compressions and rescue breaths to restore the flow, and avert brain damage. Hopefully help will be on hand, but in certain lonely situations CPR can be done with just one person. Knowing what to do in this situation is crucial.
It goes without saying that giving CPR on your own can be both a lonely and exhausting experience. However once it has been decided that someone has stopped breathing a logical protocol can be followed in preparation for the arrival of the emergency services.
Firstly it is crucial to call 999, which should take priority, and may involve leaving the casualty. Following this the first aider should give 30 chest compressions and then two rescue breaths, which should be repeated in a cycle until the arrival of the paramedics. If you have no access to a phone it has been scientifically proven that the casualty will benefit from one round of CPR before you leave them.
One of the main challenges in giving CPR to someone when you are on your own is overcoming tiredness. In order for chest compressions to be effective a first aider has to push hard on the sternum bone, which takes some effort. The actual process can also be very mentally draining, and require the first aider to remove themselves from the emotions of the event. Many heart attacks actually occur within the home so this is often next to impossible. Finally if you are on your own there is also the added pressure of coordinating the call to the emergency services, whereby you can expect them to arrive within eight minutes.
One of the biggest responses from the public when talking about CPR is for them to say that “I simply would not be able to do that”. It is very hard to picture how you would respond to a future stressful event that has not even taken place. Through talking to people who have administered CPR the wide consensus is that once thrown into the event it is common to just enter auto pilot mode.
One recent example of an auto pilot state is that of Josh Hill, who gave lifesaving CPR to his father when he noticed him collapse off the bed. Josh had taken a CPR class just three months before and knew exactly what was required of him. He is stated as saying that he picture his dad “like a resuscitation dummy”, which is a great example of removing yourself from the emotion of an event, and then focusing on what’s important.
Sometimes CPR doesn’t even get started because it is presumed that someone else will take the action or the professionals will soon arrive. In reality there may be a time in your life when you have to step forward and control a situation. There is no reason why more people can’t lead like Josh Hill and save a life. Remember the process is incredibly simple and involves repeating two simple steps over and over again. Josh reported it as being no different from his training, which millions of people taker annually worldwide.
Geoff Goond is a leading first aid instructor, and mountain rescue worker. Did you know you could give CPR on your own? If not then visit the emergency first aid course learning zone @ http://www.train-aid.co.uk for free tips.