“Be prepared, not scared” is an excellent motto throughout your day-to-day life. It is especially true when it comes to knowing how to perform CPR. In the US alone, almost 500,000 people die of cardiac arrest. Sadly, studies also suggest that only less than half of those who suffer receive CPR assistance from a bystander. CPR or Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation helps maintain blood flow to the brain, ultimately saving someone’s life. However, if CPR is vital, why is it not being performed more?
CPR, simply put, saves lives. It is essential that Americans not only recognize this but also take action. With what we know about CPR, most Americans are either too scared to provide CPR to the person in need or do not have the skills or knowledge to administer CPR. A common misconception is that you have to be careful when performing CPR. Many people feel like they will hurt the person, but the truth is if you do nothing, the victim is likely to die.
Earlier this year, a story made it to the news of a senior in high school named John Wallop, a Millville, NJ native who saved a woman’s life through CPR while working the night shift at a Wawa in New Jersey. When asked what he was thinking when it was all taking place, John said that he wasn’t thinking about it much when it was happening. His body just took over, and he knew what to do. He knew exactly what to do because his grandmother had taken him to CPR classes as a kid. Even with the current post-pandemic new normal, he was not worried about contracting COVID-19, stating, “I wasn’t worried about Covid because a person’s life is. You only get one life, said, Wallop.”
Thankfully for this woman, someone present knew how to perform CPR. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. According to the American Heart Association, only about 46% of people receive help from bystanders before professionals arrive on the scene. Another misconception people might have is that they should leave it up to a professional to help the person in need. However, it might be too late when the professional aid arrives.
What is the solution? Taking CPR courses to prepare oneself should an emergency occur in the future is the best way to help lower deaths by cardiac arrest.
Taking CPR courses and staying up to date on techniques can alleviate any fears regarding not knowing how to help someone who needs CPR. John credits his grandmother for making sure he knew proper CPR techniques. She took him to classes by her in North Carolina, but there are plenty of courses throughout the country that teach official CPR classes. You can search your zip code on the American Heart Association’s website to find a class near you.
CPR classes are readily available, and the content is easy to learn, so there is no excuse not to get trained as you never know what might happen in the future. John said that when he was taking his CPR classes, he never thought he would use the techniques, but sure enough, he needed his training just a few years later. Just as the last couple of years have taught us, we all need to do our part in public health and safety.
Together we can save lives!
Theresa Spencer is award-winning communications strategist and public relations professional. She is a creative thinker and innovative in her approach to create collaborative opportunities for others and most importantly, can motivate people around her to turn their ideas into reality. I design and drive communications and branding strategies to advance the American Heart Association objectives, initiatives and programs.