While you hope it won’t happen to you or a loved one, emergencies happen every day all over the world. To better protect you and those you care for, it’s important to be prepared for almost anything. But how do you do this? How can you be prepared for any emergency that comes your way? Really, you can’t, but you can undergo training in specific life-saving procedures to improve your chances of saving a life if the worst does occur. If something does go wrong, learning CPR is one of the most effective ways to provide medical assistance in a variety of unique situations. There are many serious emergencies that CPR can help you prepare for.
CPR is a critical medical procedure because, for many life-threatening accidents, time is everything. With every minute that passes without medical assistance, a victim’s chance of survival dramatically decreases. This is especially true for someone who just underwent cardiac arrest. According to the American Heart Association, every minute someone goes without receiving CPR raises the possibility of death by 7 to 10 percent. This is even more critical for those in rural areas where medical professionals may be miles away. So, what exactly is CPR and first aid training? And what types of emergencies can it help you prepare for?
WHAT IS CPR?
CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is a life-saving procedure that is used when the victim’s heart stops beating. When the heart stops beating, it’s called cardiac arrest—when the heart is no longer able to pump blood and oxygen throughout the body. Left untreated, someone can die within minutes of cardiac arrest. CPR is a procedure that helps keep the victim’s body circulating oxygen until medical professionals can arrive.
For many, cardiac arrest is almost synonymous with a heart attack. This is incorrect. While a heart attack, which occurs when blood cannot flow to the heart, can lead to cardiac arrest, there are, in fact, many different types of serious emergencies that can result in cardiac arrest.
1: HEART ATTACKS
As previously mentioned, a heart attack occurs when blood and oxygen are unable to flow to the heart. This is commonly caused by the accumulation of plaque in the arteries, restricting the normal flow of blood to the heart. Sadly, heart attacks are as frequent as they are deadly. Currently, heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States. Each year, roughly 647,000 people die in the United States from untreated heart attacks. Being trained in CPR can allow you to offer life-saving assistance if you are ever within the vicinity of someone suffering from this condition. The numbers of heart attacks are staggering. Proper CPR training can allow you to make a difference.
2: ELECTRICAL INJURIES
Electricity keeps our world bright, but it can also be dangerous. As technology advances, we rely more than ever on electrical products to keep our lives moving. However, working with electrical products, even with just daily use, can have unintended consequences. In the United States alone, there are about 1,000 deaths a year caused by electrical injuries. When someone is exposed to a high electrical energy level, they can suffer muscle spasms, skin burns, cardiac arrest, or even death. With proper CPR training, you can save a life if someone suffers from cardiac arrest due to an electrical injury.
3: FIRE AND SMOKE INHALATION
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Emergencies caused by fire and smoke are common throughout the world. Not only do fires cause massive amounts of damage to homes and property, but they also lead to thousands of deaths every year. However, most deaths from a fire are not from the flames themselves, but from inhaling the smoke. As smoke increases, so do the levels of carbon monoxide, which drowns out the available oxygen to breathe. This lack of oxygen can lead to headaches, dizziness, unconsciousness, cardiac arrest, and can even be fatal. Performing CPR is one of the most effective ways to assist someone who goes into cardiac arrest from smoke inhalation.
Humans love water, there’s no denying that. Around the world, roughly 70 percent of the human population lives within 4 miles of the nearest body of water. We’re drawn to water, whether it’s the ocean, a lake or river, or even just the local public swimming pool. However, it’s essential to keep safety in mind before you jump in. Drowning is the third leading cause of accidental deaths around the world. From 2005 to 2014, according to the CDC, there were roughly 10 drowning deaths every day in the USA.
While proper swimming instruction is the best way to ensure you stay safe in the deep end, even the most experienced swimmers can land in trouble in the water—this is especially true in less controlled environments, like the ocean (where riptides can pull in even the strongest swimmers) or rivers or lakes. If someone inhales enough water, water can fill the lungs, leading to cardiac arrest or even death. That’s why being trained in CPR is so important.
Suffocation occurs when oxygen cannot reach the lungs, usually from some type of physical blockage. This is especially common and dangerous for small children when choking on a toy, or other types of small objects, is regrettably common. Studies show that about half of choking deaths are children under the age of four. Learning CPR is the most effective way to be there to help if a choking accident does occur.
We do everything we can to avoid them, but the simple truth is that accidents happen. That’s why it’s critical to do everything you can to be prepared for the worst—even if that day never comes. CPR training, from a professional, trusted organization, provides that type of preparedness and peace of mind. Knowing that you’re ready to help if an accident occurs, anything from drowning, an electrical injury, or cardiac arrest will make you feel better. Still, it will also make your loved ones, and those around you rest a little more comfortable as well. As the old proverb goes, “hope for the best and prepare for the worst.” CPR training is one of the easiest and most effective ways to live out this proverb.