The average person in the United States isn’t prepared to administer Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, and there’s no time to learn in an emergency.
A Danish study indicates that the most effective way to improve survival rates of heart attacks outside the hospital (OHCAs or Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrests) is a solid push for CPR public education. People need to be taught how (and when) to administer CPR, they say, in addition to first aid.
We can’t instruct you properly on CPR here (and frankly, you shouldn’t learn CPR from a blog post anyway), but there are many CPR classes and certification courses around the country, and most likely in your community as well.
Now, if you’re a North American, you may be saying “That study came from the Netherlands (Danish actually means from Denmark; you’re thinking of Dutch. Don’t worry, I get confused sometimes too). Why should we listen to the Danish?”
Frankly, there are numerous reasons we should listen to the Danish. In short, the Danish have raised their OHCA survival rates to an astounding 40%.
Yes, that number is astounding. The highest OHCA survival rate in the U.S. is 16% (in Seattle).
The lowest is 0.2% (in Detroit).
There are very good chances that if you’re reading this blog, you already know how to administer CPR (your certifications are up to date, right?). But, for any non-medical personnel reading this blog, here is a helpful video from the Red Cross to get you started in the right direction.
It’s no replacement for in-person CPR training by a qualified instructor of course, but you may learn a thing or two about a thing or two. It can’t hurt to know the basic mechanics and principles of hands-only CPR in case an emergency happens.
And hey, in (insert the name of your city or town), you never know.