NAPA, CA - To highlight American Heart Month this February, Napa County Health & Human Services - Public Health urges the public to take care of the hearts in our community by learning the life-saving technique of Hands-Only CPR and how to use an AED (automated external defibrillator).
The message comes on the heels of NFL player Damar Hamlin’s sudden cardiac arrest during a game. His survival shows the importance of CPR and being prepared to take action during an emergency.
According to the American Heart Association, for every one-minute delay to getting CPR started, chances of survival decrease by seven to 10 percent. You don’t need specialized medical training to perform CPR or to use an AED. Bystander CPR can mean the difference between life and death. In 2022, the national average for bystander CPR was 39 percent and Napa County’s average was 45 percent. Let’s keep that momentum going. Below is a Q&A of common CPR and AED concerns:
Can I perform CPR or use an AED without formal training? Performing CPR and using an AED are simple and require no formal training. In fact, when you call 9-1-1, a dispatcher can provide CPR instructions. AEDs simply require powering on the device and following audio or visual prompts. You can find AEDs in businesses, schools and public areas across Napa County.
How will I know when to start chest compressions? Start chest compressions when someone collapses or can't be woken up. Don’t check for a pulse. Start compressions right away. Put one hand on top of the other and press hard and fast in the center of the chest. Note: Don’t do mouth-to-mouth CPR.
What if I make a mistake? The only mistake is doing nothing. No one expects you to perform chest compressions like a seasoned paramedic. Just give your best effort as you do chest compressions.
The person suffering cardiac arrest is a woman - Could doing chest compressions be inappropriate? Trying to save a life is always the right thing to do. Do chest compressions regardless of gender. Cited in a 2019 study in the “American Heart Association Journal,” this perception can negatively impact a woman’s chance for survival. Remember to start compressions right away and to not delay the process.
To learn Hands-Only CPR, watch this how-to video from the American Heart Association. For more resources on how to “Act in Time” and save a life, visit our AED / CPR / HeartSafe Community web page.