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Cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

+ How common is a sudden cardiac arrest?

There are 25,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest deaths per year in Australia. That’s one death about every 20 mins or 68 deaths every day. 80% of cardiac arrests happen at home or with family and friends. Only 9% survive of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests. Tragically however, 91% die.

+ What is the difference between sudden cardiac arrest and a heart attack?

A heart attack is a “circulation” or "pumbing" problem, and it occurs when blood flow is blocked getting to the heart, typically in the arteries. A sudden cardiac arrest is an “electrical” problem, and it usually occurs when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating or unexpectedly beats irratically.

+ How do you know if CPR is required?

Checking for a pulse can take too long and it is considered unreliable these days. You should start CPR if the casualty is unresponsive and not breathing normally (for example, sporadically or grasping noises). Don’t be concerned about making the situation worse, as the alternative could be losing the patient all together.

+ Shouldn’t I just ring 000 and wait for the ambulance, they are the experts?

Yes, definitely ring triple zero, ideally using the Emergency+ app if you have it as it easily plots and maps your exact location. Remember that every 60 seconds of not doing CPR reduces chances of survival by 10%. Any action is better than none, especially when it only takes three minutes for brain damage to occur and it takes 10 minutes on average for an ambulance to arrive. Only 32% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims receive CPR from a bystander. This is one of the major contributors to the high rate of deaths from cardiac arrests. So, waiting for the paramedics just doesn’t cut it.

+ I’m not sure what to do in an emergency situation, I’m scared.

Just immediately ring 000 (ideally using the Emergency+ app if you have it) and put your call on speaker phone. Triple zero (000) operators are highly trained, they will ask you some quick questions, dispatch help and will coach you in what to do next including clear CPR instructions if required. Remember, any attempt at resuscitation is better than no attempt.

+ I’m concerned I’ll do something wrong and make matters worse, like break their ribs.

Remember, you can't kill a dead person and again 'any attempt at resuscitation is better than no attempt'. Ring 000 immediately (on speaker phone), they will tell you what to do next. Start CPR – 30 compressions (100-120 beats per min) and 2 breaths. If close to one, get an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), turn it on and follow its voice prompts. If in doubt, push harder and quicker. You can’t do any more harm, you might break a rib or two, but at least you might also save a life.

+ If I do something wrong couldn’t I get sued?

In Australia, we have the Good Samaritan Act to protect people who provide emergency assistance. So, as long as a bystander acts with the best of intentions, they are not legally liable in their attempts to save someone’s life.

+ When doing CPR, do I have to give mouth-to-mouth?

Two breaths to 30 compressions is best practice as after 3 - 4 minutes the human body will start to run out of oxygenated blood for the brain. But it is entirely up to the individual and may also depend on facial wounds. If you don’t give mouth-to-mouth, you can still provide hands-only chest compressions at a rate of 100-120 bpm, or to the beat of the Bees Gees classic song Stayin’ Alive.


Automated External Defibrillators (AED)

+ What is the difference between a defibrillator and an AED?

They are exactly the same, just different names for the identical device. A.E.D is short for Automated External Defibrillator (AED), or mostly referred to as just ‘defibrillator’ for short. For more information on defibrillators.

+ What does an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) actually do, how does it work?

A defibrillator (or AED), is the only thing that will restart the heart and shock it back into the correct rhythm. So a defibrillator is used to help revive someone having a sudden cardiac arrest. It is a portable battery powered device that analyses the heart's rhythm, and if it determines, sends a shock to the heart to restore a normal rhythm.

+ I’m scared of defibrillators, couldn’t I get shocked and hurt?

Defibrillators (AED) these days are designed to be pretty much idiot proof for an untrained bystander. If you can make a cup of tea, you can use a defibrillator or AED. Just turn them on and they will give you voice prompts and very clear instructions on what to do. They have come a long way in the last few years and are no longer scary machine like in the movies that only doctors can use.

AED’s are safe to use and are designed not to shock someone with a normal heartbeat. The device instructs you when ‘not to touch the patient’ during the time it determines a shock is required. In the unlikely event of you accidentally being shocked, it would be uncomfortable, but in most cases probably not life-threatening.

+ Where do I find a defibrillator (AED)in an emergency?

Typically, at surf clubs, recreation centres, sporting clubs, hotels, medical centres, shopping centre, office blocks and many transport hubs like train terminals or airports. They are now in many Woolworths and Officeworks and most Coles supermarkets. It’s best to know where your local defibrillator is by checking in advance using apps such as ‘PulsePoint AED.’ If required, you'll need a defibrillator in minutes to get the best result, so try and send someone to get one while you do CPR.

+ What if I can’t find a defibrillator (AED)?

Make sure you have rung 000 and help is on its way while you do CPR. Remember ‘Any attempt at resuscitation is better than no attempt.' Your job now is to keep going with CPR (to maintain survival) and keep oxygenated blood to the brain for 10 minutes or so until the paramedics arrive with their own defibrillator.

+ How much do defibrillators (AED) cost to buy?

Depending on what type you buy, in general, they range between $2,000 - $2,500 and are tax deductable and GST free. So, defibrillators are not only an excellent heart safe investment but extra useful around the end of the financial year. For more information on the best types for your needs.

+ What type of defibrillator (AED) should I buy?

All defibrillators basically are designed to do the same thing – restart the heart with a shock. But they all come with different and unique features depending on your requirements and your budget. These include: ECG display and prompt type (voice and or LED video), IP (protection) rating, CPR live coaching and feedback, length of warranty (5-8 years), battery life (4-7 years), paediatric capability and increasing voltage attempts.

If you would like to talk though your specific defibrillator needs and options, we are here to help so Contact Us


Hosting CPR friendly events

+ How do we facilitate the CPR training at an event I’m hosting?

Great question; well, there are many different options for you. The most basic way is you can play any number of our videos or check out YouTube for ’CPR training’ and use pillows to practise CPR. Or you may even like to get your hands-on ‘Community Lifesaver in a Box,’ which comes with a blow-up manikin and an excellent 30 minute DVD CPR training program. A better way is to contact us or your local surf club as they could assist with facilitating an information session and maybe even provide the training resources and manikins.

+ How do we organise a CPR friendly event?

Get in touch with us. At CPR friendly, we can talk you through what sort of event you want to run and give you heaps of ideas on the best way to organise them. We can send you our 'CPR friendly - Event Resources Kit' with event checklists, invite templates, sample follow up emails, even defibrillator fundraising ideas if you want – virtually everything you need to organise a great event. That’s why we are here – to help! So contact us today.

+ Some people say they did a CPR course years ago so already know what to do

Maybe so, but do they really just want to just ‘wing it’ with out-of-date training on a loved one during a highly emotional time when they are probably not thinking straight? A lot has changed over the years with CPR training and it keeps on changing each year with ARC guideline updates as we learn more. Recent examples would be the technicial changes in aspects of DRSABCD and the importance of early defibrillation.

The real facts are that currently in Australia more than 70% of people don’t know how to properly administer CPR (that's around 18 million Australians), and anyway, surely, knowing how to save a loved ones life is important enough to get a quick refresher on.