Updated: Aug 31, 2022
By Haya Ansari
Imagine this: one of your family members, friends, a loved one, or even a stranger experiences a cardiac arrest or heart attack right in front of you. It is taking too long for the first responders to arrive and they are losing brain cells due to the lack of oxygen. Gaining knowledge about CPR could help you save a life and make you the first responder.
In 2016, then-Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1719, which requires hands-only CPR be taught in schools, beginning in the 2018-2019 school year. California is the 35th state to require this potentially life-saving skill.
Heart related diseases and deaths have increased by 24%, which has become one of the leading causes of death in the United States according to the 2017 statistics from the Center of Disease Control. By performing CPR we keep the blood and oxygen flowing of the affected victim. Without oxygen reaching the brain, they are losing brain cells. If they survive, it is likely that the lack of oxygen will lead to a longer time to recover.
On November 1, 2019, American Red Cross visited SOAR High School to teach hands-only CPR and disaster preparedness for several classes.
How important is CPR?
EMT Scott Steven Kwiatkowski recalls one situation in which he had to do CPR for 45 minutes while waiting for help to arrive.
To understand how difficult this is, students practiced this skill for just two minutes. Many started out strong but admitted to being tired by the end of the two minutes.
Sara Jayne Breuer, who has been working for American Red Cross for five years, came in with an EMT who has served for 20 years. Breuer, who came in on the first of November directly from a Red Cross shelter, had aided in shelters for Hurricane Harvey incident. She states that “the people were so nice and friendly and we helped in the shelter by providing food and a place to sleep.”
Scott Steven Kwiatkowski, an EMT who was apart of the disaster action team, has faced and aided in the Katrina Hurricane incident in 2004. Based off of his disaster assessment as he drove into Texas to assess people's homes. The incident was extremely devastating to the point where “people were cooking roadkill and were in line for three hours to get gas. At the gas station, there was a line to get smoked meats.”
Within Breuer’s presentation, she informs students about the essentials of an Emergency Kit, having a plan and a meeting point, and being informed about your surroundings, ways of gaining information, and how to act during a disaster. After their disaster performance presentation, they instructed how to perform hand CPR. When we empower ourselves to have information then we can become the first responders and help ourselves and the people around us.
Steps for CPR:
-Check the scene and the person
-Request anyone around to get an AED and to call 911
-Kneel beside the person who needs help
-Place the heel of one hand on the center of the chest and push downward for 100 to 120 compressions per minute. Press two inches into the center of the breast bone.
In case of emergencies and for information...
Radio Stations: KNX 1070 am & KFI 640 am
Red Cross Shelters broadcast on KNX1070
“Reverse 911:” www.alert.lacounty.gov
Register cell phones and email
Safe & Well:” redcross.org/safeandwell
Available online and in Red Cross shelters after a disaster