Avera Medical Minute AHH: CPR and AED Awareness Week brings attention to life-saving efforts

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Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Most cardiac arrests happen at home.

Seconds count when someone has a cardiac arrest. Giving CPR immediately can double or triple their chance of survival.

“Just knowing how to use these two hands to do compressions will make a difference between life and death,” said Mary Houska of Heartstarters.

As Houska explains, anyone can learn CPR and potentially save the life of a loved one.

“I’m going to tap, ‘hey, hey are you alright?’ They’re not responding. You call 911 and get the AED. Next I’m going to check for breathing for 5 to 10 seconds. They’re not breathing. Now I’m going to begin chest compressions,” said Houska.

Give 30 chest compressions followed by two breaths. Repeat until first responders arrive on scene.

“We as responders come on scene and we just basically take over and work right into things and continue on,” said Division Chief Steve Fessler of Sioux Falls Fire Rescue.

Fessler explains how an app called ‘PulsePoint’ is connecting those who know CPR to those who need it.

“It’s alerting the general citizen that within a public place that there is CPR needed. When dispatch goes out to fire and ambulance and police that there’s a cardiac arrest, PulsePoint also sends that out almost simultaneously. If you are trained for CPR, it will alert you that there’s a cardiac arrest within your general vicinity and it’ll also show you where the closest public access defibrillator is, so you can grab the defibrillator and respond and start CPR right away,” said Fessler.

Both Fessler and Houska want to stress the importance of learnin CPR because you never know when you may need to use it.

“The biggest thing is calling 911, starting the whole EMS system off is with that initial call, getting the AED, the public access defibrillator, and starting the hands-only CPR,” said Fessler.

“It’s so easy to do so that’s why we really stress to people, just learn it,” said Houska.

More than 350,000 cardiac arrests happen outside the hospital. The more people who know CPR means more lives can be saved.

For more information just call 877-AT-AVERA.