May 112011

image: British Red Cross

Once you’ve got your unconscious casualty out of that confined space it is necessary to provide Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) immediately there is simply no time to waste, says the US Coastguard in a new safety alert. Every second which passes affects the patient’s chance of survival.

Regardless of other CPR training requirements, such as basic safety training required by STCW-95 for certain mariners, the Coast Guard strongly recommends that all vessel owners and operators ensure each crew member is properly trained in CPR. Important changes to CPR procedures have taken place in late 2010.

Current recommendations from the British Red Red Cross:

If an adult is not breathing normally, you must call an ambulance then start cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), which is a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths.

1. Place your hands on the centre of their chest and, with the heel of your hand, press down (4-5cm). After every 30 chest compressions give two breaths.

2. Pinch the person’s nose. Place your mouth over their mouth and – by blowing steadily – attempt two rescue breaths each over one second.

3. Continue with cycles of 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until emergency help arrives or the person begins to breath normally.

If you are unable or unwilling to give rescue breaths give chest compressions alone.

The link below also provides a video.

According to the American Heart Association:

Sudden cardiac arrest is most often caused by an abnormal heart rhythm called ventricular fibrillation (VF). Cardiac arrest can also occur after the onset of a heart attack or as a result of electrocution or near drowning. When sudden cardiac arrest occurs, the victim collapses, becomes unresponsive to gentle shaking, stops normal breathing and after two rescue breaths, still isn’t breathing normally, coughing or moving.

Effective bystander CPR, provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest, can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival.

Effective bystander CPR helps maintain vital blood flow to the heart and brain and increases the amount of time that an electric shock from a defibrillator can be effective.

Brain death starts to occur four to six minutes after someone experiences sudden cardiac arrest if no CPR or defibrillation occurs during that time.

If bystander CPR is not provided, a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s chances of survival fall 7 percent to 10 percent for every minute of delay until defibrillation.

Few attempts at resuscitation are successful if CPR and defibrillation are not provided within minutes of collapse.

For additional information access the following websites:
British Red Cross

American Heart Association

American Red Cross

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