Red Cross Poll: Few Canadians Know CPR

Monday, December 2, 2013

CPR exampleThough many Canadians say they have been in a situation where they had to perform some type of first aid in order to assist an individual who was hurt or injured, few think they have the knowledge and skill needed to help someone after enduring a heart attack.

The survey, which was performed by Canadian Red Cross, found that 40 percent of Canadians have had to utilize a first aid treatment for a friend, acquaintance or stranger who required it after being hurt. However, if the health episode someone experienced were a heart attack, only 15 percent said that they believe they could handle it competently.

Don Marentette, national manager of first aid programs for the Canadian Red Cross, indicated that this is why CPR training is so crucial for everyone - as one never knows when they'll be in a situation where they're called to act.

"CPR, when used with an [Automated External Defibrillator] and started immediately after a heart attack, can double a person's chance of surviving," said Marentette.

In light of November being CPR Month, the Canadian Red Cross recently released a free app that consumers can download to their wireless devices that provides instruction about how to perform CPR should they ever be around someone who has a cardiac emergency. Marentette said that while the ideal is to download the application and take a professional training course about CPR, the app supplies individuals with the crucial information they need that can ultimately help them save someone's life.

According to the Canadian Red Cross, approximately one in every 10 fatalities in the country stems from a heart attack, a ratio that's more prevalent than traffic fatalities and the car insurance claims that result. In addition to learning CPR, Dr. Chi-Ming Chow offered tips for how to help someone who is having a heart attack, as reported by The Toronto Star:

  • Know the difference between a stroke and a heart attack. Because heart attacks and strokes affect different parts of the body, the symptoms tend to contrast from one another as well.  People experiencing a heart attack may be severely short of breath, sweating or nauseous. Meanwhile, stroke sufferers may be unable to speak or move one side of their body. They may also lose consciousness.

  • Check for other vital signs: Learning the proper protocol for CPR is vital, but if you don't know it, check to see if they're able to breathe or have blacked out. If they have lost consciousness, start chest compressions by pushing hard over the chest at a rate of 100 compressions per minute. Chow says that there is the possibility of doing CPR wrong, potentially causing injury, but it's better than the alternative.