Can you image watching someone unexpectedly collapse in front of you? Maybe its something you have experienced along with the fear and overwhelming shock of witnessing such an event. That exact scene is what happens when someone experiences sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). There is no warning when SCA happens to someone and 50% of the time there is a witness when it takes place. There is a chance that this could happen to you and it's important to know how to respond.
The Steps to Help a Victim of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)
First, check the area for safety. Ensure that the environment is safe. Look for potential dangers such as gas leaks, exposed power lines, fires or even traffic. Making sure you are safe as you approach someone who has collapsed is important so you don't put yourself in danger.
Check for responsiveness and call for help. Once you’ve determined that the scene is safe, check the victim for responsiveness. Look to see if the victim is breathing and if he/she has a pulse. If the victim is unresponsive, ask someone to call 911 and to find an automated external defibrillator (AED) while you start CPR. It is important to get ahold of emergency responders as soon as possible to get trained EMTs on the scene as quickly as possible. AEDs can be found in many public places such as schools, office buildings, churches, and fire stations they are often found mounted on a wall with a sign indicating it's location. Take a look around to notice where there are AEDs in your community.
Apply proper chest compressions. Chest compressions should be delivered at a rate of 100 to 120 per minute and a depth of 2 to 2.4 inches. Try to avoid leaning on the chest and minimize the time you pause between compressions. Providing high-performance CPR is extremely important and can help make the difference between life and death. If you forget what to do it is best to talk to the 911 dispatcher for directions.
Follow the AED prompts. When the AED arrives, turn it on, attach the pads to the victim’s bare chest, and follow the prompts. If the AED advises a shock, make sure everyone stands clear until the shock is delivered. If the victim remains unresponsive, promptly resume CPR until medical personnel arrive.
Help save a life. The first few minutes after a collapse are critical. You can provide the much needed CPR and help increase the victim’s odds of survival. Locating and utilizing an AED can also play a huge roll in saving a life. Ensure your facility has an AED available because SCA can happen anywhere at any time. Receive a poster from Zoll on how to utilize their AED's through the Download here.