Not all life-saving CPR episodes involve mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. As part of National CPR Awareness Week (through June 8), experts in hands-only CPR want the public to know that this technique actually makes it easier for bystanders to save lives after emergencies such as cardiac arrests or drownings.
Lon Rosen, founder of One Beat CPR, a Fort Lauderdale-based CPR training center, recommends following these simple steps if a person loses consciousness or is found unresponsive:
Shake and shout! Place your hands on the shoulders or arms of the unconscious victim, shake the person, and yell the individual's name loudly to see if he or she shows signs of consciousness. If the victim does not respond, proceed to the next step.
Call 9-1-1: If possible, call 9-1-1 from a landline so your location can be identified more easily. If no landline is available, use a cell phone to call 9-1-1, alert a passerby or send a friend for help.
Start chest compressions. If the unconscious victim is younger than 8 years old, the attending person should press firmly and repeatedly with the heel of one hand in the center of the chest until help arrives. The person giving the compressions should try to be over the victim’s body, using a straight arm to leverage his or her body weight into the compressions. If the victim is 8 or older, use two hands with interlocked fingers to perform chest compressions. Again, position yourself over the victim’s body, keep your arms straight, and press firmly in the center of the chest repeatedly until help arrives. Deliver the compressions quickly and steadily.
An interesting note for all you Bee Gees fans: The American Heart Association recommends compressing to the beat of the famous disco-era song "Stayin’ Alive."
For more information, contact One Beat CPR, at 4350 Oakes Road, Suites 500-501, Fort Lauderdale; 954/321-5305; www.onebeatCPR.com.
The American Heart Association offers a video for hands-only CPR. It only takes about a minute to learn how to save a life.
Lisette Hilton, president of Words Come Alive, has had the luxury of reporting on health, fitness and other hot topics for more than 23 years. The longtime Boca Raton resident, University of Florida graduate and fitness buff writes for local, regional and national publications and websites. Find out more on www.wordscomealive.com.