When sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) strikes, time is of the essence. Each year thousands of people of all ages are struck with SCA. A person is thought to have approximately only ten minutes to survive this event, which requires fast action from anybody nearby. This means that in the vast majority of survival cases, the first responders are people who may not be trained in medical emergencies. To be prepared, it is crucial that people are aware of the steps that must be taken following a person’s collapse in order to have the best chance of saving their life.
- Step 1: Call 911.
The faster that trained medical staff can arrive on the scene the better. When a person suffers from SCA, their chances of survival decrease by approximately 10% with each passing minute. Because most emergency personnel can take longer to arrive on the scene, making the phone call to notify them is essential. When you see a person collapse or become unconscious suddenly, call 911 immediately before offering help. This important step could be the difference between life and death.
- Step 2: Assess the person.
SCA and heart attacks appear very similar and are commonly mistaken. It is important to understand the differences to help make the best assessment possible in an emergency situation. With a heart attack, there is a blockage in the heart, but with SCA there is an electrical malfunction with the way the heart is operating. To help determine which incident has occurred, check if the person is still breathing. If not, SCA may be the cause of their collapse.
- Step 3: Attach and administer defibrillation.
As you wait for the ambulance to arrive, locate the nearest defibrillator. If a person is suffering from SCA, defibrillation can help restart their heart long enough to increase their chances of survival. You may be the one who must administer the defibrillator. Simply follow the instructions on the machine and do not hesitate to act.
After a few minutes, emergency personnel should arrive on the scene, but this may be too late. Because time is so crucial, online companies, such as aedbrands.com, for example, have worked with businesses and areas with large numbers of people, such as airports and hotels, to ensure that defibrillators are on the scene in case of emergency. These devices have helped save thousands of lives. To be prepared, it is important that you know when to use a defibrillator and understand the power it holds in saving a life.