In celebration of American Heart Month, and since today is Valentine’s Day, I want to encourage every resident of San Luis Obispo County to learn CPR and AED (automatic external defibrillation) and protect your loved ones’ hearts.
It’s easy! All you have to do is sign up for an American Red Cross, San Luis Obispo County Chapter CPR/AED training course.
Sudden cardiac arrest, one of the leading causes of death in the United States, strikes more than 300,000 victims each year, of which about 5 percent survive. By becoming prepared and experienced through Red Cross CPR/AED training, you increase your loved ones’ chance of survival by responding within the few critical moments after abnormal heart rhythms, unconsciousness or choking occurs.
When combined with CPR and early cardiac life support, early defibrillation is recognized as the most critical step in restoring cardiac rhythm and resuscitating a victim of sudden cardiac arrest. Usually due to abnormal heart rhythms, sudden cardiac arrest victims collapse and quickly lose consciousness, often without warning. Many victims have no history of heart disease, and unlike a heart attack, many victims of sudden cardiac arrest have no prior symptoms. Unless a normal heart rhythm is restored, death follows within a matter of minutes.
CPR prolongs the window of survival when someone loses consciousness by encouraging blood flow until normal heart function can be restored. Defibrillation, an electrical current to the heart, can then treat the irregular, sporadic or absent heart rhythms of sudden cardiac arrest. Defibrillation is the only definitive treatment for sudden cardiac arrest. Responding immediately after collapse is crucial since every minute a victim is unconscious translates to approximately a 10 percent decrease in the likelihood of resuscitation. After 10 minutes, very few resuscitation attempts are successful.
Only one out of every 20 sudden cardiac arrest victims survives, though many of these lives could be saved through early defibrillation. With a brief window of opportunity for effective treatment, widespread CPR and AED training is crucial in increasing the chances of survival.
Red Cross CPR/AED training will teach you how to perform CPR, care for breathing and cardiac emergencies and use an automated external defibrillator on a victim of sudden cardiac arrest. Also, I am pleased to announce that Red Cross CPR certification is now good for two years, instead of just one! There’s no better time to take a CPR course.
While you can’t predict when an emergency will occur, you can be prepared. In only a short time, American Red Cross training can give you the vital knowledge and skills you’ll need to respond to a loved one’s life-threatening situation with confidence.
This Valentine’s Day, protect the hearts of your loved ones by signing up for a CPR/AED training course with the American Red Cross, San Luis Obispo County Chapter. You can even take the class together — what better expression of love could there be?
Classes begin across San Luis Obispo County in February. Sign up today at www.slo-redcross.org or call us at 543-0696. We’re also on Facebook and Twitter (@SLORedcross).
Natalie Schaefer is the chief executive officer for the American Red Cross, San Luis Obispo County.