Animals Can Save Lives, Too!

Who doesn’t love dogs? They’re loving, caring, and can be your most loyal companion. What you might have not realized is that they can even physically save your life. Recently, 1000’s of miles away in Madrid in a viral video, a dog is actually attempting to perform CPR on a down officer. Madrid is currently attempting to train their K-9 dogs to perform CPR on injured officers.

However, the question remains, can a dog really learn efficient CPR? The answer, most likely not. There is a certain amount of accuracy, and power that come along with doing CPR, that a dog can’t really provide. Although the video is undeniably cute and offers thoughts into the future of those who can perform CPR, at this point a dog doesn't seem like the right fit.

Although dogs may not be able to provide direct hands or paws only CPR, service dogs can provide help to many people with conditions such as diabetes, blindness, and ptsd, just to name a few. There has also been speculation of dogs having the ability to detect a heart attack based upon a change in odor on their owner. For example, dogs have been known to detect cancer at the earliest stages and display the message through barking or body language. Having your pup detect that you are about to have a heart attack has not been proven yet, however, individuals have reported cases of their dog excessively barking right before having a myocardial infarction.

So although a dog may not be able to directly perform CPR, they may be able to warn you of an impending heart attack. Not only can they snuggle with you at night and keep you company when you’re alone but they may just be able to save your life.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdKBH8_1GH8

AED: Jumper Cables for the Heart

You have seen them in places you often visit - your office, school, and the gym. In most facilities, Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) packs can be found on walls or other visible locations. So what exactly does an AED do? An AED is used to help those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. As jumper cables recharge a car battery, an AED will administer a shock to the heart.

When a person is experiencing a cardiac arrest, their heart is not beating correctly and thus needs to be “jumped” back into a regular rhythm. An AED is a medical device that analyzes a person’s heart rhythm and, if necessary, delivers an electrical shock to bring the heart back into rhythm.

When do you use an AED? First, look for signs of cardiac arrest.

Cardiac Arrest is noted by:

  • No signs of life

    • A loss of consciousness

    • No rise and fall of the chest

  • No response to verbal and physical stimuli

    • Performing “tap and shout” elicits no response

Once you have assessed that cardiac arrest is occurring remember to:

  • Call 911 immediately

  • Make sure the person is on a flat surface

  • Begin CPR

  • Ask someone to bring you an AED or, if you are alone and it’s nearby, grab it yourself

  • Dry off the individual if they are wet

Performing CPR during an emergency is already a highly stressful situation. It can also be daunting to use an AED. To help you, many AEDs actually speak and relay directions step by step to ensure that there is no confusion about how to use them. The device guides you through where to place the pads on the individual's body and even has a metronome to keep you in rhythm as you perform CPR.  

In order to use an AED, follow these steps:

  • Turn on the AED

  • Listen with intent, remain calm, and assure you perform the steps as they are relayed

  • Apply the pads

    • Pads should be firmly secured to the skin

    • If the individual has chest hair, it may be necessary to remove the chest hair before applying the pads

  • Do not touch the individual while the AED is analyzing their heart rhythm

  • Do not touch the individual while the AED is delivering a shock

  • Continue CPR

With the use of an AED and administration of consistent CPR, you can take charge of an emergency situation. Just like reviving your car after you left your headlights on, you can resuscitate an individual. Apply those jumper cables and get to saving a life.

Being a Superhero: Saving a Baby’s Life

Nothing is scarier, more daunting, and more intimidating than having to step in and save a baby’s life. Being a superhero for your own family or someone else’s is an immense responsibility - but it is one you are capable of handling. Seeing a baby choke or struggle to breathe is an unforgettable sight, one that elicits panic and turmoil. Stay calm and collected to properly handle the situation. A calm mindset, proper preparedness, and CPR training will arm you with the knowledge and power to be a superhero.

Most arrests in babies occur from lack of oxygen due to choking on food or even a toy. If you are unaware as to why a baby is not breathing, immediately perform CPR. Every second counts, and transforming into a superhero is vital in this moment.

Here are essential steps to applying your cape and saving a baby’s life:

Check for Response:

  • Flick the baby’s feet in an attempt to elicit a response, a cry, or movement

    • Do not shake the baby

  • Call 911

Placement:

  • If there is no response:

    • Place the baby on his or her back on a firm, flat surface

    • Preferably, the surface is a table that puts the baby at your waist level

    • If this is not possible, the floor will suffice

Compressions:

  • Place one hand or two fingers just below the baby’s nipple line in the center of the chest

  • Compress the chest about 1.5 inches

  • Perform 30 compressions before you perform two breaths

    • Count out loud to maintain rhythm, know how many you are on, and to calm yourself during a stressful situation

  • 100-120 compressions in one minute is your goal

Breathing:

  • Place one hand on the baby’s forehead and two fingers under the baby’s chin

  • Gently tilt the baby’s head back

  • Cover the baby’s mouth and nose with your mouth

  • Give two breaths, slowly

    • Leave one second in between each breath

  • Assess for chest rise and fall

Being a superhero isn’t easy. It’s a tough job, but you are more than prepared to perform your duties. Get CPR certified and earn your cape. Remain calm, recall your knowledge, and be the guiding force in any emergency situation. CPR saves lives and, with certification, you can, too.

Saving Lives One Song at a Time

In a recent viral video, a two-year-old girl named Saige Pietroforte performs CPR, applying an AED trainer and giving compressions on an infant mannequin. Her father Chris, a former firefighter and EMT of 19 years, taught her how to administer CPR.  View the video here.

When it comes to learning CPR, you may be thinking, “Am I the right person to do this? Is someone else better suited than me to try and save a life?” However, if a two-year-old child can learn CPR, then why can't you? Everyone benefits from learning CPR. Sign up with a CPR class and earn your certification.

Once you have received training, all you have to remember are these 5 simple rules:

  • Hand position and placement

  • 30:2 (compressions to breaths)

  • Head tilt, chin lift

  • Look for chest rise and fall / signs of life

  • Repeat

When someone requires CPR, you have to be able to spring into action. Your adrenaline is pumping, your palms are sweaty, and your training may flee your mind. You have someone's life literally at your fingertips. With enough practice and proper instruction, these steps will eventually become muscle memory.

One way of developing this muscle memory is to use common songs to keep rhythm when performing 100-120 compressions per minute. A couple of light-hearted songs allow you to think clearly as you perform the required compressions, especially if you are administering for the first time. Saige picked the song “Baby Shark” to aid her in performing CPR on an infant mannequin. “Baby Shark” is an immensely popular children’s song that has the exact rhythm to perform the correct number of compressions. With a little help from their favorite songs, children are learning CPR and becoming future lifesavers everyday.

A more adult song to use as a guide is “Stayin’ Alive,” by the Bee Gees, which is not only a suitable song for the task at hand, but a song that most people know. Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” also works. These songs have been used to help teach children, adolescents, and adults to perform CPR. Any song with 100-120 beats per minute will aid you in keeping track of your compressions.

Learning CPR can seem daunting. However, with the proper training, development of muscle memory, and fun song to calm you and direct your compressions, you will be prepared to administerCPR when an emergency arises.


Why You Should Learn CPR

Did you know that most sudden cardiac arrests occur at home? When an individual becomes unresponsive with no signs of breathing, providing CPR immediately is one of the only ways to possibly save their life.

Unresponsive means pulseless, breathless, or not breathing in a normal fashion. However, you should perform CPR when the individual shows absolutely no signs of life as well. This means you cannot see their chest rise and fall or the person is not responding to a verbal and physical response such as tapping and shouting.

CPR aids in maintaining blood flow to the vital organs, the brain, and the heart. An unresponsive individual’s chance of survival decreases by 7% every minute unaided - so CPR must be performed quickly.

Some emergencies where CPR can be used are:

  • Drug Overdose

  • Drowning

  • Choking

  • Heart attack

  • Suffocation

Certain professions require CPR training, such as lifeguards, teachers, coaches, athletic trainers, and electricians. If you interact with the public, being CPR certified is necessary. However, anyone can learn CPR, including parents, students, and even children. Some Los Angeles schools require CPR certification as a graduation requirement, empowering today’s youth to make a difference and maybe even save a life someday.

There is no downside to knowing how to perform CPR. An emergency can happen at any time in the workplace, at the store, and, most often, at home. The first few minutes of an emergency are the most critical. Knowing what to do and how to respond not only puts witnesses of an incident at ease, but also grants you the feeling of being in control and the ability to help save lives.