Encouraging First Aid from the Untrained Bystanders

The new American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines for basic life support and CPR seek to encourage more bystanders, whether trained or untrained, to respond and render first aid in times of emergencies. Let’s take a look at the new CPR guidelines from the AHA.

In emergency situations, the initial actions taken by a bystander can have a huge impact on the outcome of the victim. Providing immediate basic life support and CPR at the scene of emergency increases the chances of survival of an unconscious victim who suffered a sudden stop of heartbeat and/or breathing.

How do you respond in an emergency situation?

Following the new basic life support and CPR guidelines from the AHA, bystander can respond in an emergency in this order:

  • Call 911 or have someone call for help.
  • Check responsiveness of the victim. If no response is elicited, roll the victim on his/her back.
  • Initiate chest compressions: place your hand’s heel over the center of the victim’s chest, the other hand on top of it, and fingers interlaced.
  • Press down (indenting the chest by approximately 2 inches for adults and children, and 1.5 inches for infants).
  • Open the airway: tilt the victim’s head and lift the chin. Learn the proper technique by enrolling in basic life support and CPR training courses.
  • Create an airtight seal: pinch the victim’s nose, cover his/her mouth and breathe normally. Give rescue breaths for 2 seconds and see if the victim’s chest rises or not.
  • Continue chest compressions and rescue breaths, until advanced medical assistance arrives. The advised ratio is 30:2 at a rate of 100 compressions per minute.

AHA’s new CPR guidelines would hopefully encourage bystanders to perform immediate CPR. Performing proper mouth-to-mouth resuscitation may be difficult and awkward for the untrained bystander, which is why many bystanders shun the chance at helping in an emergency situation. Rearranging the process and putting chest compression on the first step may greatly increase bystander response in emergency situations. Giving chest compressions is easy to perform and does not require an in-depth training. Furthermore, chest compressions alone, when done right, can save a life in the process.

Basic life support and CPR guidelines are continuously reviewed and evaluated. New studies and findings may prompt changes and updates in these guidelines. It makes a lot sense for ordinary people, and even trained first-aiders, to take up CPR training courses at least every 2 years. This way, you can get acquainted and learn the new techniques and procedures related to CPR and first aid.

Note that majority (almost 80%) of medical emergencies occurs in places other than health facilities and people handling these emergencies are regular people. With the new CPR guidelines bystanders are empowered and encouraged to act!

Take a basic life support and CPR training course now and be able to help save a life.

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