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Essay by: ISP105   

I strongly support the proposition that all non-healthcare professionals should know cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). There are three vital reasons to do so: the American Heart Association (AHA) has endorsed universal CPR education, dwindling Emergency Services budgets have increased response times for 911 calls, and technology has made it easier for anyone to learn the basics of CPR. As a BSN matriculate at California State University Stanislaus, my professors constantly repeat, “Treat every patient as you would if they were one of your family members.” If every person learned some form of CPR, they might save the life of a family member that encounters a life threatening situation.

The first reason for all non-healthcare professionals to learn CPR is that the AHA claims that the life you save may be someone you know and love. According to the AHA website 88% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur at home; they state that administering CPR before first responders arrive can double, or even triple, survival rates. The process of learning CPR combination chest compression and rescue breathings does not require a lot of time; most courses can be completed in half a day. Learning the proper procedure and being certified allows you to potentially save someone who is in need of CPR. In 2008 the AHA made things easier when they issued a statement about Hands-Only™ CPR. They recommend anyone who witnesses the sudden collapse of an adult should dial 911 and follow simple instructions to administer chest compressions in the middle of the victim’s chest. This recommendation was followed by the release of a 20 minute video enabling any lay person the ability to learn the procedure.

The next reason to support my position coincides with the recommendation of the AHA; the downturn of the U.S. economy created a budget deficit to local municipalities which affected Emergency Medical Services. Cuts made to police departments, firefighters and all first responders have increased the time from when a 911 call is placed until a trained professional arrives on the scene. Seconds can make a difference in the life or death of a loved one when their heart has stopped; minutes passing require action by anyone who is present. Even as the economy improves, it will be difficult to reverse this trend of massive cuts.

Lastly, improvements in technology make it possible to have life-saving resources available to any smartphone owner at their fingertips when needed. According to Pew Research 58% of Americans use smartphones daily; these users now have access to Hands-Only™ CPR Applications for Android or iTunes which can provide step by step instructions what to do in an emergency. If you see someone collapse suddenly, call 911 and simply follow the instructions on the Hands-Only™ CPR Application on your phone.

Surprisingly, the AHA estimates 70% of Americans feel helpless to act in a cardiac emergency. It is now easier than ever to learn CPR. Whether you take a half-day course, watch a 20 minute video, or simply download an application on your smartphone, education is the only barrier between fear, indecision and potentially saving the life of a friend or loved one.

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