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Essay by: ISP077   

What would you do if someone was experiencing a life threatening emergency, and you were the only one to witness their crisis? What if it was your loved one? Are you prepared?

It is crucial for everyone to know what they can do in the case of an emergency. The National EMS information system reports that the average response time to a 911 call is 9.2 minutes. Knowing that brain cells begin to die after 4 minutes of oxygen deprivation means that immediate action is vital to the survival rate of the individual. Life saving measures cannot be the sole responsibility of healthcare providers rather a community effort.

Sadly, the truth is that most people don’t even know how to perform CPR. I learned the value and importance of knowing CPR first hand when my newborn son suddenly stopped breathing. My son was born 8 weeks premature and had an immature digestive system. Early one morning I awoke and found him lying in his bassinet not breathing. My immediate reaction was fear, helplessness, and panic. I realized that I was the only one home and if I did not act quickly he would die. At that point I had not taken a CPR course and I had minimal knowledge of how to properly perform CPR. My baby was turning blue and I immediately and instinctually began giving rescue breaths. I called 9-1-1 and continued with guided CPR until the paramedics arrived.

While in the hospital, I learned that my son was choking and had GERD (or reflux); a common cause of sudden infant death syndrome. The hospital staff provided me with CPR instructional videos before he was released a week later. I felt having this information was incredibly valuable to me. I wished that I had known these techniques before my son’s frightening episode. Having these skills ahead of time would have prepared me mentally and emotionally to deal in a crisis situation. Thankfully, my son is in perfect health eleven years after that event. However, as a parent who experienced a traumatic emergency situation with my own child, I believe CPR is a necessary skill that is imperative for other parents to learn prior to giving birth.

Everyone needs to know how to perform CPR. Basic CPR should be implemented into our school system empowering our youth with confidence that they too can help to save a life. We can teach young children how to alert the emergency response system by dialing 911, and young adults can be trained in life saving skills. Parents, family members, teachers, employers, and citizens should be properly trained in CPR making life-saving techniques second-nature. People misguidedly believe that these skills are only attainable by healthcare professionals. CPR courses are readily available to the public and these skills should be common knowledge with in our society. Knowledge is power and we can have the power to save a life. In a few short hours you can learn the latest techniques in identifying and caring for someone who is choking, had a stroke, seizure, broken bones, bleeding, and cardiac emergencies. What you do within the first few moments of an emergency situation can greatly increase the chances of survival for that person.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), Eighty-eight percent of cardiac arrests happen suddenly, without warning while at home. The National safety council lists choking as America’s number 4 leading cause of accidental death. Knowing how to properly perform CPR could save someone’s life, and that life; as the AHA powerfully states, is quite possibly going to be the life of someone you love.

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