What to do in a CPR Emergency

By American Pool Marketing May 17, 2012


In honor of National Water Safety Month, we will be featuring weekly water safety articles that provide insight into important information regarding swimming pool safety.

Contributor: Sabraya Ghale
Safety Director, American Pool Enterprises, Inc.

As an American Red Cross Lifeguard Instructor Trainer, I have been training lifeguards to perform and/or teach CPR/AED for over 7 years. I have always felt that anyone with a child, family member, or friend should learn CPR. In 90 percent of cases, the person in need of CPR will be a friend of family member. You may be the only person around who can help during an emergency.  Especially in an aquatic emergency, where there is no lifeguard on duty.

Many people have steered away from learning CPR because of the fear of mouth to mouth contact and the possible diseases that could be contracted. The Red Cross has made it possible to learn CPR without the worry of mouth to mouth contact.  With the industry putting stress on the importance of compressions only, organizations such as the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross answered with the hands-only technique which involves using just chest compressions and no mouth to mouth contact on a person who has suffered from sudden cardiac arrest. In 2010 the American Red Cross released its Citizen-Only CPR class which teaches a hands-only technique.

Most times, a person’s heart stops because of an abnormal quivering known as ventricular fibrillation, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). A person’s life can be saved in more than 50 percent of these cases if CPR (and defibrillation) is given in the first three to five minutes. Studies have shown that chest compressions alone may be as effective as traditional CPR with compressions and breaths. Therefore, if you as a parent, family member, or bystander are able to help save someone’s life by giving compressions why would you not?

Follow these steps below:

What should you do if you witness someone suddenly collapse?

1.       Check and call 911

a.       Check the scene and then check the person.

b.      Tap on the shoulder and shout, “Are you okay?” and quickly look for breathing.

c.       Call 911 in no response.

d.      If unresponsive and not breathing, begin chest compressions.

2.      Give chest compressions

a.       Place the heel of one hand on the center of the chest.

b.      Place the heel of the other hand on top of the first hand, lacing your fingers together.

c.       Keep your arms straight; position your shoulders directly over your hands.

d.      Push hard and fast:

i.      Compress the chest at least 2 inches deep.

ii.      Compress at least 100 times per minute.

iii.      Let the chest rise completely before pushing    down again.

e.      Continue chest compressions

3.       DO NOT STOP (Except for one of the following situations):

a.       You see an obvious sign of life (breathing).

b.      A trained responder arrives and takes over.

c.       EMS personnel arrive and take over.

d.      The scene becomes unsafe.

For more information and to watch a two-minute video on how to perform the hands-only CPR technique please go to www.redcross.org.

There is nothing more rewarding than knowing how to save a human life.

May is National Water Safety Month. Help join the fight to save our children from unintentional drowning and follow ALL the home pool safety tips provided. Remember to contact your local Red Cross (1-800-RED-CROSS) for further information on enrolling in swimming lessons, CPR, or first aid class.

About the Author

Sabraya Ghale graduated from Villa Julie College in 2000 with a B.A. in Psychology. She began her aquatics career as an assistant swim coach for the YMCA and then became a YMCA Aquatics Director. The American Red Cross recognizes her as a Certified Lifeguard Instructor Trainer and she coordinates a top safety program for lifeguard management companies across the United States. She has continued with her training over the years by completing courses on Occupational Safety and Health and OSHA Construction Safety and Health. Currently, she serves as the Safety Director for American Pool Enterprises, Inc. and has spent the last seven years enforcing policies and procedures to ensure the safety of all full-time and seasonal employees.