Could you save somebody’s life with CPR?

If somebody’s life depended on you, could you save them with CPR? Could you act quickly and remember how many compressions and breaths to do and what position to place somebody in? With the spate of drownings across NSW this summer, it has served as a crucial reminder of just how important knowing CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) is.
A toddler was pulled out of a backyard pond in Fairfield West on Monday, but a quick thinking neighbour may have given the two-year-old a second chance. Ramsey Vong, 33, told the Daily Telegraph he heard screams and rushed to the toddler’s aid. “I came out and saw the boy lying on the ground … he was already unconscious and they were yelling ‘help, help, help’,” he said. “I was breathing into his mouth and water came out but his eyes were closed.”
St John Ambulance NSW assistant commissioner Josh Clark said people should just attempt to give CPR, even if they didn’t know the specific procedure, because it gives the person in trouble more of a chance of survival. The Australian Resuscitation Council says any attempt at resuscitation is better than none at all
Mr Clark told a pair of broken ribs would be better than the alternative, which in many cases is death. If an elderly person is found unconscious, he said don’t be afraid to perform CPR on them because you’re worried about cracking a rib. “I’m sure you know somebody who has had a fractured rib and survived. If somebody is unresponsive or not breathing and you commence CPR and do fracture or crack a rib, continue doing what you’re doing. If they do survive but have a fractured rib, that’s OK,” he said.
“You can identify somebody who needs CPR really quickly,” Mr Clark said.“It’s anybody who is not breathing like you.”First you should check their airways, mouth and nose, to make sure there is nothing blocking them. Then you should put your cheek near their mouth to see if you can feel them breathing while also putting a hand on their chest to check if it is rising and falling. “If a person is breathing but gasping for air, that is still an indication to do CPR,” Mr Clark said.
According to Mr Clark, don’t breathe into somebody’s mouth unless you have a CPR face shield, to ensure no infections are spread. Push your hands into the chest, right in the centre between their armpits, and start doing 30 rapid compressions. If you have a face shield, give the person two breaths, if not, focus on compressions. Mr Clark said you should be doing about 100 compressions a minute. If it helps, you can do your compressions to the tune of Staying Alive by the Bee Gees. “Absolutely do that if that’s what you remember” Mr Clark said. When giving CPR, you should always push down a third of their chest, Mr Clark said.
If a person is drowning, Mr Clark said you should protect their head and neck as you drag them from the water. When getting them to dry land, roll them on their side to push water from the top part of their lungs, making more room for air.
Mr Clark also advised staying still when giving a child CPR. “You can give them CPR in your arms and you might have a tendency to walk around,” he said. “Stay still and put two adult fingers right on the sternum and breast bone, between the armpits, and get yourself still on a flat surface.”
Mr Clark said there were a number of different methods you could use when giving CPR. “It’s like the Olympics, there’s gold, silver and bronze medals,” he said. “Gold if when you use a defibrillator and a face shield, doing 30 compressions and two breaths. Silver is you doing CPR by yourself with a face shield and bronze is doing only compressions. “But it’s all better than nothing and is still going to be effective until somebody arrived with a defibrillator or face shield.”
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CPR courses are available at Nepean Aquatic Centre every month – please enquire at reception for dates and details.