By Jenna Yingling ’21
The reaction of a bystander during a medical emergency has an immense impact on the survival of the victim.
However, the majority of people do not know what to do if a medical emergency occurs. If the average person had a foundational understanding of how to care for a victim of cardiac arrest, it could save lives. Making CPR and First Aid a required class in Pennsylvania high schools would be the most effective way for students to acquire a basic knowledge.
It is imperative that students be required to take CPR and first aid as it will prepare them to help someone in need of medical assistance.
“People should know what to do in case of an emergency,” explained CPR and first aid instructor Robin Baker. “Just because you know what to do doesn’t mean you’re going to react, but you’re more likely to help and know what to look for if you are trained.”
A medical emergency can take place at any moment and can happen to anyone. The more experience someone has, the higher the chance of them taking initiative to be of assistance.
On the contrary, others may argue that it is pointless to train for medical emergencies when there are professionals who handle these situations; however, once a victim’s heart stops, the chance of mortality increases ten percent every minute. It takes an estimated time of ten minutes for an ambulance to arrive on the scene.
On the other hand, compressions, rescue breaths, and defibrillation can all be performed to sustain a victim’s heartbeat.
In the American Heart Association CPR and AED course, students learn the most effective ways to execute these skills on adult and child mannequins. The course explains proper hand placement and pressure applied when performing compressions, and how to follow defibrillation procedures.
The AHA course also teaches how to protect yourself from viruses and diseases that a victim may carry. These are all significant factors in accurately saving somebody suffering of a heart attack or cardiac arrest.
Additionally, the AHA first aid course also covers emergencies like choking, heat and cold emergencies, strokes, bites and stings, puncture woods, cuts, severed body parts, and constructing slings.
It is important that students are aware of how to handle these dangers if they ever find themselves in a situation where an accident occurs. Knowing how to react and what supplies can be used could save someone from possibly bleeding out or permanently losing an appendage.
Although it is true that you do not need to be certified in order to provide CPR or first aid for a victim, having gone through training legally protects you if something were to go wrong.
For instance, there are laws titled “Good Samaritan Laws” that protect people from being possibly sued by the victim; however, these laws only apply to those who are certified in CPR and first aid. Having CPR training experience will ensure legal protection after helping a victim.
Making CPR and first aid a required high school course will expose highly important skills to a large number of people, spreading the knowledge. CPR and first aid courses provide crucial skills that can ultimately save lives.