Learned CPR

"Don't worry about your heart, it will last you as long as you live."
W.C. Fields

Today, I took a class in
cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR. Safety Training Seminars offers a Community CPR class in their various training centers located in the Bay Area. I went to the one in San Francisco.

After a quick check in at the front, we picked up some handouts and sat down. Our instructor John introduced himself and immediately talked about what we needed to know about CPR. It was really great information because he went through various hypothetical situations. He also talked about the most common reasons the heart stops and needs resuscitation.

This course kept to a simple standard of 30 compressions and then 2 breaths. This is across the board for children and adults. For the compressions, John showed us how to press down on the sternum at least 2 inches in depth.

Then, this is followed up by tilting the head back, opening the jaw and giving two slow and steady breaths. John showed us the technique for doing this. The cycle of thirty compressions and two breaths is repeated until the person is responsive or something better is available (from an EMT for example).

He also gave us a demo on how to use an
automated external defibrillator (AED) machine. This portable machine automatically diagnoses whether a person requires a shock or not. CPR is given to a person hooked up to it between shocks. An AED machine usually runs $1300, but they can be found in various places, like airports and hospitals.

After John was finished with demos and lectures, it was our turn to practice. We split up into pairs and got a training dummy, some knee pads, and an AED.

We also had to pick up individual adult and infant faces. They were located in two giant trash bins. I thought this was hilarious.

We practiced the procedures for dealing with choking (using the Heimlich maneuver) and CPR as well as the use of an AED. Practicing the procedures that John outlined on the dummy was very helpful, even if it was a bit awkward.

This was a very worthwhile class, and I recommend as many people as possible learn CPR at their earliest convenience. One of the major goals in performing CPR is to prevent brain damage. Without blood circulation getting to the brain, it doesn't take long for permanent damage to happen. I thought it was great that this class really went over the step by step procedures of the situations one might face when needing to use CPR because saving time is so important. The less time needed in making decisions, the better off the person requiring help is going to be.

I wish I had done this sooner, but I'm glad I now know how to react if the situation calls for something like this.
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