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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Calling 911

Calling 911 is really pretty simple, once you think through what the 911 operator needs to know:

You might feel a little silly practicing a 911 call out loud, but it will make the real call easier.


When do I perform CPR on someone?

You've just seen someone - probably a family member, a friend, or someone you see every day - become non-responsive. You sense there's something wrong, but you are not sure what to do.

Here's a really simple way to think this through:
  1. If it's not safe, don't do it. There is no sense in turning the chance to save a life into two obituaries.
  2. If a person becomes non-responsive - if you cannot wake them up - you need to call 911. It doesn't matter why the person is non-responsive.
  3. If there is any doubt in your mind as to whether the victim is breathing normally, you need to get that person onto his or her back on a hard, flat surface and begin chest compressions - 1.5 to 2 inches deep - at a rate of 100 compressions per minute.
I should point out that step 3 is more conservative than the American Heart Association protocol in that the AHA - in an effort to eliminate all possible confusion from the process - skips the breathing check before commencing chest compressions. SLICC, with the backing of members of its Medical Advisory Board, feels that the average citizen can tell if a non-responsive person is breathing normally or not. It would be inappropriate to begin chest compressions on someone who was breathing normally.

But that's how simple it is to decide whether to start CPR or not. If the victim is non-responsive, call 911. If the scene is not safe, call 911 and wait. If the scene is safe and the patient is not breathing normally, start chest compressions.

One in seven of you will witness at least one sudden cardiac arrest during your lifetime. Think it through so that you can act with confidence. Please take a CPR course - either from SLICC or the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association.