"You never know when you're going to use it. If we can just train a couple of people in the community, we want it to catch on, and we want people to embrace this," said Lauren Wells of Centre LifeLink EMS.
Which is why Centre LifeLink EMS signed on to the "Lend a Hand, Save a Life" CPR Challenge, an initiative seeking to cut down on one of the leading killers of Americans (sudden cardiac arrest) by teaching the principles of hands-only CPR to 250,000 Pennsylvanians.
"We want our community to be a safer place. We want people to know how to respond to that situation, so like I said, if we can train different community groups on how to do this simple step, we could have a lot more survivors in the community," said Wells.
Because it is said that immediate CPR from a bystander can double or triple the chance of survival.
"A lot of people have a fear of putting their mouth on a stranger, and this makes it so there's only one thing you have to think about. You don't have to think about how many compressions, or how many breaths you're doing, you're just focusing on one thing, so it makes it a lot smoother, because there's already a lot of excitement," said Eliza Shaw, a Health & Safety Instructor with Centre LifeLink EMS.
"It's really easy. It only takes five minutes to teach somebody, maybe even less. It's really just one, quick simple step, and that's why we really just want to teach everybody in the community, all ages," said Wells.
So I decided to hop on board, and learn how to do it.
"First you want to get them on the hard floor, so we have them here ready to go, and you want to find the middle of their chest on their sternum. It's kind of right here, in between their nipple line. And you want to go straight down. Have your elbows and your shoulders straight over your wrists, and you want to be going at least 2 inches deep or about 1/3 of the depth of their chest. You want to bend from your hips," said Shaw.
Form is important in hands-only CPR. You want to make sure your elbows are locked and that you're pushing from the hips. Not doing so, won't provide enough force to compress the heart.
"You have to remember that when you're doing CPR, if you're not doing anything to help this person, they're going to stay just as they are, their heart is not going to start beating, they're not going to pump any blood. So you're not going to hurt them by doing this. You want to go at least that two inches. If you're going a little bit farther, it's not going to be a problem, but you need to make sure you're getting that good depth," said Shaw.
And she says, you want to be doing at least 100 compressions a minute.
"So you can kind of think of the song, "Staying Alive" by the Bee Gees, that is about the right beat to be going to. And you don't have to count any numbers, because you're not worried about the breaths, all you're worried about is the compressions...and you just keep going until help gets there," said Shaw.
And Eliza says this new method is just as effective as the traditional method, where you had to place your mouth on someone else's to give them a breath.
"When you're doing the compressions, you're creating a vacuum that draws air into the lungs, and as you compress the heart, it circulates that oxygen into the blood," said Shaw.
"So you can save lives by doing hands only?"
"Absolutely, Absolutely," she said.
The campaign runs through the end of May, and every view we get on our website counts towards their goal, so share the link!
If you'd rather go to one of their upcoming training events, they have one this weekend. Centre LifeLink will be teaching Hands-Only CPR at Spikesfest 2013 on Sunday, February 10th from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at the Penn State Multi-sport Indoor Facility on the University Park Campus.