WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – When a person is in medical crisis, we expect first responders or other medical personnel to spring to action. But waiting for help to arrive is often too late unless a bystander jumps in first.
None of us knows when we may be in a situation to help save a life. But research shows most American workers are not prepared to respond to something like a heart attack in the workplace. After taking a workplace CPR course, Eyewitness News Healthbeat Reporter Mark Hiller explains the training is easier than you may think.
“You just put your hands in the center of the person’s chest and push hard and fast.” American Heart Association CPR Instructor and Commonwealth Health Paramedic Bernadette Royce demonstrated a lesson in very basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation. “Center of the chest and you want to compress 100 to 120 times a minute,” she explained. About two compressions each second is doing the work for a heart that has completely stopped.
The American Heart Association estimates about 10,000 sudden cardiac arrests happen in the workplace each year. The survival rate is only about five percent if you rely only on emergency personnel to help. “In the meantime, the person is not getting any oxygen. They’re not getting any blood flow to the heart, to the lungs, to the brain,” said Ms. Royce.
She said the biggest mistake people make is not pushing hard enough while doing chest compressions. “CPR is challenging which is why we want more people to know how to do it. The more people this way you can relieve each other.” Even if you’re the only one on scene, Ms. Royce said you can get a vital assist by taking the first step and calling 911. “They (dispatchers) ask that cell phone be put on speaker and they will have you count out loud and they will correct you if you’re rhythm is a little bit off.”
Learning how to use an AED, or automatic external defibrillator, along with administering CPR has the potential to save thousands of lives in the workplace. Eyewitness News Producer Dave Becker took the workplace CPR training session and said, “I think we need to be prepared for any emergency that can happen and by definition of an emergency you don’t know what’s coming up but you should be ready.”