The Importance of CPR
I grew up in a household where I was told from a fairly young age how important it was to learn CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation). Our fridge always had a list of emergency numbers for if someone collapsed and my brother and I took lifeguarding/CPR/AED/First Aid courses as soon as they were offered to us at age 16, and for good reason.
Cardiac problems are rampant in my family, especially in men. My grandfather on my mom’s side had 3 heart attacks, the final one with my mom present performing CPR. My grandfather on my father’s side passed away of sudden cardiac arrest along with my father, who passed with me performing CPR for his final moments. My family history with cardiac problems and CPR is fairly unique but I still feel like it is a really important skill to learn at some point in your life whether or not you may need to use it. Most likely, you will never have to perform CPR or any first aid of sorts, but it is a skill to build confidence in stressful and life threatening situations.
I was inspired to write this article because of Damar Hamlin, a player on the Buffalo Bills who collapsed on the football field a couple of weeks ago. He was hit on a play, got up, walked a few steps and collapsed very similarly to how my dad collapsed a couple of years ago. Hamlin’s heart stopped beating and was resuscitated by the medical team twice using CPR before being taken by an ambulance to a hospital. He survived with very little damage because of how quickly the emergency protocol was enacted. This is a very clear example for how important it is for a rapid response in these situations.
Although CPR isn’t a guaranteed life saving tactic, when it is coupled with 911 response and easy access to a hospital, it can increase someone’s chance of living. I learned that CPR as a concept can be traced back to Ancient Egypt. Over thousands of years, doctors have found ways to make it more and more effective. Even over the past 8 years of being certified, I’ve seen them change up the techniques for how to best provide CPR. For those who have taken a certification class, you know how physically taxing it is to perform even 5 minutes of CPR on a human. Every time I’ve practiced, I’ve felt so much gratefulness towards my body and my heart’s ability to pump gallons of blood through my body all day every day.
I want to conclude this article by encouraging everyone to become CPR/AED/First Aid certified. These days it requires a simple google search for “CPR Classes Near Me”. Most of the class is online with one 3–4 hour in person session. The certificates are valid for two years and teach you about everything from tying bandages to emergency response protocols. I truly believe that taking this class just once can make a very big difference.