Emergencies happen every day, and you need to be prepared for the inevitable. Whether you are at home, work, or school, quick thinking is needed to help save someone’s life. These are the basic lifesaving skills everyone should know.
One of the most common lifesaving techniques is the Heimlich maneuver. This is a simple motion where one person forms a knot with their hands and thrusts upward across a choking person’s lower abdomen. The force of movement and air usually dislodge any debris that is blocking a person’s airways. If the first time does not work, get behind the person, and reposition yourself to thrust again. Keep in mind that the movements and hand placement vary depending on the age and size of the person. Adults, children, and infants each have slightly different requirements.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, is another often-used lifesaving skill that consists of chest compressions and artificial ventilation. When someone suffers from cardiac arrest, you need to begin doing chest compressions quickly. Though chest compressions help with heart problems, you may need to provide additional first aid care with rescue breaths. Using mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, you can inflate the person’s lungs. Many people aren’t comfortable performing rescue breaths, especially in the middle of a pandemic. CPR is still effect for a short time with chest compressions only. CPR is easy to learn, but you need to attend a class and receive CPR certification to be officially qualified to provide it.
An AED, or automated external defibrillator, is an computerized electronic emergency device used to shock a person’s faltering heart into a normal rhythm. Used on people with cardiac arrest, the electric pulse from an AED stops a person’s heart so that it can reset itself. Similar to CPR, you need to be certified to use an AED. However, in the case of an emergency, most public buildings have AEDs installed in accessible walls. Noted by the sign showing a heart with a lightning bolt running down the center, an AED comes ready to use and provides simple instructions for new users.
There are many ways to become certified in BLS—or basic lifesaving skills—so look for local classes near you. Being prepared is the first step in saving someone’s life. Equipped with the basic lifesaving skills everyone should know, you can be the one who takes action in an emergency.
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