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Why CPR and Public Access AEDs are Essential In Our Community

Imagine: you’re in a public place, and you see someone clutch their hands over their heart. You watch their eyes glaze over with fear, and you hear them try to cry out for help.

Do you freeze, or do you spring into action? 

While many of us hope we’d do the latter, it’s vital to have CPR training and AED training (and access) to save a life. Here, we’ll explore what happens when a person experiences a heart attack, and why it can be so important to be able to spring into action with proper CPR and AED

What Happens During A Heart Attack?

When the flow of blood to the heart is blocked, a heart attack occurs. Usually, this blockage occurs due to a buildup of cholesterol, fat, and other substances in the arteries. These substances form a plaque that makes it impossible for blood to flow to the heart.

When the heart doesn’t get enough blood, other organs in the body suffer from a lack of oxygen. This can cause death in a matter of minutes. Emergency medical treatment can sometimes restore blood flow and reduce permanent heart damage.

It’s important to know that while a heart attack can affect anyone, some people are more susceptible than others. Men older than age 45 and women older than age 55 are more likely to have a heart attack than others,

Symptoms of a heart attack may include

  • Fatigue
  • Cold sweat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Indigestion, abdominal pain, nausea, and/ or heartburn
  • Tightness, pain, squeezing, or aching in the arms and/ or the chest (this may spread to the jaw and/or the upper back)

Heart attacks aren’t the same for everyone. Some people have intense pain, while some have mild pain that they may attribute to another health issue. Some people have no symptoms at all.

Why CPR Works

CPR uses a combination of chest compressions and mouth breaths to temporarily restore blood flow to the heart and provide oxygen to the brain and other vital organs. CPR can be lifesaving in the event of a heart attack or sudden cardiopulmonary arrest, and can reduce the amount of permanent damage created by the temporary lack of blood flow.

Restoring Rhythm: How An AED Can Save A Life

An AED (automated external defibrillator) is an emergency electrical medical device that can restore the heart’s rhythm in the event of a heart attack. An AED is computerized and analyzes the rhythm of the heart. The AED can determine whether a shock is the best choice for the
person suffering the event. If appropriate, the AED can deliver a shock that may restore the heart to its normal rhythm.

You may have noticed that while AEDs are increasingly common, there aren’t nearly enough of them in most public places. Survival rates decrease by 7-10% for every minute that passes before a person suffering from a heart attack gets treatment from an AED. More AEDs need to be placed in public access locations.

Talking to local businesses and government agencies about installing more AEDs in your community can go a long way in helping people who suffer from cardiac events or arrest. Given how expensive these devices can get, awareness around AED grants is also essential for our

Finally, portable AEDs are an excellent option for coaches, teachers, law enforcement officers, and others who work with the public.

Be Prepared – Be A Hero

If you don’t have CPR and AED training, taking a class to become certified can help you save a life. CPR and AED training are simple but important. Performing CPR or AED training incorrectly can be ineffective at best, and fatal at worst. The Red Cross offers classes online, in-person, and in blended formats to meet your needs.


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If you’re near someone who you think may be experiencing a cardiac event, you must act fast. Survival rates drop significantly for every minute that a person who is experiencing a cardiac event goes without emergency treatment.

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