CPR: when all else fails

First four minutes after heart stops are the most critical.

Paramedics students Lana Koehle and Petter Flaatten practice CPR on a baby-sized dummy during a Justice Institute class at NIC.

The difference between life and death is a heartbeat.

Without one, a person is already dead—and there’s not much you can do to make it worse, said B.C. ambulance service paramedic Deb Roberts.

It’s not difficult to learn, but it should be essential for everyone to learn. It’s the No. 1 tool in the toolkit for emergency responders.

“A basic CPR class is about four hours and you learn about choking, CPR on an adult, a child and a baby,” Roberts said.

Paramedics go even further in their training with a three-week emergency medical responder (EMR) course and then a nine-month primary care paramedic course.

“They did a month of online, they do four months in the classroom, 14 shifts on an ambulance, three shifts at the hospital and one shift in a nursing home to meet all the national occupancy standards,” she said.

It’s a lot of training and according to Roberts, the focus on CPR is strong.

“CPR is a big component of that, we spend quite a bit of time on it.”

But while paramedics are well trained in it, sometimes the professionals can’t get there soon enough. That’s where general knowledge of CPR by members of the public comes into play.

In the time gap between when someone stops breathing and help arrives, plenty can go wrong.

“It can be the difference between life and death,” said Roberts. “The brain starts to die within four minutes and the brain is dead at about seven minutes.”

Even if someone can’t help the victim’s heart start beating on its own, CPR will still help.

“If you’re doing CPR, you’re continuously pumping oxygenated blood around the body and feeding the brain,” said Roberts.

“You don’t even have to do mouth-to-mouth because there is oxygen still in the blood.”

In fact, for someone without CPR training it’s better not to worry about mouth-to-mouth.

“Continuous chest compressions is still better than nothing.”

According to Roberts, worries about further hurting the victim are pointless.

“You’re not going to hurt them. They’re already gone, so anything you do is better than nothing,” said Roberts.

“They’re already dead. Bones heal but brains don’t. It’s paramount to start (CPR) immediately.”

Even if you miss the fact the patient has a slight pulse, it’s still better to try CPR.

“If you don’t really know what you’re feeling for, if you see no signs of life and just start doing chest compressions you’re not going to hurt them.”

The ideal scenario is everyone having some basic CPR training, said Roberts.

“Everybody should know how to do CPR All of the grade 10’s get it in P.E. and our high school is now doing the EMR, the next level of training,” she said. First responders—some firefighters and search and rescue—will get it as well.

Otherwise, it’s offered via Echo Centre, North Island College and other places within the community; check www.redcross.ca.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

twitter.com/alberninews

facebook.com/albernivalleynews

Just Posted

Alberni lacrosse players compete in national tournament

The B.C. bantam team finished fourth out of twelve teams

Port Alberni RCMP recover stolen tool chest

Police still searching for the rightful owner

Kuu-us Crisis Service celebrates 25th anniversary

Port Alberni-based business sets sights on national realm

Vehicle fire extinguished near Cathedral Grove

Fire shut down Highway 4 in both directions

McLean Mill’s steam engine done for the season

McLean Mill Society to consult with community about future of steam

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

Women-owned businesses generate $68,000 less revenue than men’s: survey

When Dionne Laslo-Baker sought a bank loan to expand her burgeoning organic popsicle and freezies business in 2014, she was “shocked” by the feedback she received from one of the bankers.

Hedley frontman’s alleged sex offences case returns to court

Jacob Hoggard faces three sexual assault-related charges will return to a Toronto courtroom this morning.

Climate change likely to cause more sewage leaks, says environment minister

More than one hundred municipal wastewater systems did not report how much raw sewage overflowed from their pipes in 2017.

Priests molested 1,000 children in Pennsylvania, report says

The “real number” of abused children and abusive priests might be higher since some secret church records were lost and some victims never came forward.

Defiant as Trump rages, Omarosa says she won’t be silenced

Manigault Newman declared she will not be silenced by President Donald Trump, remaining defiant as her public feud with her former boss shifted from a war of words to a possible legal battle.

Death toll hits 39 in Italy bridge collapse; blame begins

The collapse of the Morandi Bridge sent dozens of cars and three trucks plunging as much as 45 metres (150 feet) to the ground Tuesday.

RCMP to search for body after man drowns in B.C.’s Buntzen Lake

Officers and fire crews responded but the man from the Lower Mainland is believed to have drowned.

Police chiefs call for stricter controls on pill presses to fight opioids

Canada’s police chiefs are urging Ottawa to beef up its fight against the opioid scourge by closely vetting people who import pill presses

Most Read