We see it all the time in movies and TV shows: A character who seems to have met his or her demise is lying motionless, while someone else frantically goes through the steps of CPR. Then, all of a sudden, the lifeless character is back.
Hopefully, you’ve never had to experience this in real life. For me, that was the case before I attended Nashville Save a Life’s CPR class and was able to practice CPR on dummies.
I’ve never been CPR-certified before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. While it would be much more stressful to attempt CPR on a person, the individual steps were easier than I imagined.
Here’s how you can save a life:
- First, assess the environment. Did you see what happened to cause someone to be unconscious? If you or the un-responsive person are in danger, make sure to find a safe place.
- Shout and tap on the person who is unresponsive. If they’ve only fainted and it’s nothing serious, they’ll wake up.
- Get help if they’re still not responding. If you don’t have a phone and you’re in a safe place, leave to find help that’s as close as possible. If other people are with you, tell someone to call or find help.
4. Check for breathing. The easiest way to do this is to crouch down and see if their chest is moving. While it’s unlikely that the injured person will be on a table, you can do this easily on the floor as well.
5. If they haven’t responded to you and you can tell they’re not breathing, it’s time for CPR. Lay your palm on their chest about an inch above the end of their sternum (you’ll feel it), and start compressing two inches deep. An odd way to make sure you’re compressing their chest at appropriate intervals is to hum the tune of “Staying Alive,” by the Bee Gees, in your head.
6. Give them two breaths after every 30 compressions. Tilt the person’s head back, lift their chin, and pinch their nose, and you should see their chest rise and fall as you breathe into them.
CPR can be done from one minute to 15, and sometimes even longer. By knowing the steps and taking action, you could easily save a life.
The next CPR class offered through Nashville Save a Life is Thursday, March 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Cohn Learning Center. Register online at Nashville.gov/CE.