Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), is the process used to restore or maintain blood flow throughout the body in the event of heart stoppage or a heart attack. It is a widely known process, and is a central tenet of any first aid course. Since the premise of applying chest compressions is quite simple (100 compressions per minute), CPR is not as complex as many people believe it to be; however, it is often used in conjunction with another process known as artificial respiration (AR) where you breathe air into the victim's lungs as well. The two techniques in conjunction with each other are used to keep oxygenated blood pumping throughout the victim's body and can prolong and even save their life.

Why CPR?

Knowing CPR is important because it can mean the difference between life and death for you or your co-workers. When an accident happens on the job, if you are prepared to react as the first responder until further help arrives, then the chances of survival can be greatly increased. As an employee, employer, and responsible citizen, it is good to ensure that you and your co-workers are knowledgeable about the process of providing first aid in the event of an accident.

How It Can Help

CPR can help you in two ways - by giving you the knowledge to help save a loved one or co-worker, or prolong or potentially save the life of a victim. To better illustrate this idea, I can share with you a story about an event that happened when I was riding the school bus as a boy. My bus driver was a very heavyset man of 300 pounds, and one morning on the way to school, he suddenly fell over onto the wheel, and then onto the floor as the colour slowly faded from his face.

Being young, I was quite scared, and plenty of the people on the bus were screaming, however one of the older students on the bus was a lifeguard at our local pool and responded quickly following the steps outlined from his first aid training. He quickly ran up to our driver and felt for a pulse following the "look, listen, feel" method and determined that the heart had stopped and there was no breathing. At this point he automatically began AR and CPR to attempt to resuscitate the bus driver until first aid arrived. Since I was one of the fastest runners on the bus, I ran to the nearest house and got the neighbors to call 911 (there were no cell phones yet!).

When I got back to the bus, the ambulance had arrived, and my bus driver had been revitalized using a defibrillator and advanced CPR. The doctors said that if AR and CPR would not have been done initially, our bus driver surely would have died. It was a great event to witness to understand the importance of CPR first hand in saving a life, and one that will echo with me for years to come.

What to Do In an Emergency

The first thing you should do in an emergency is consider if you are a trained professional. Many people who are not qualified in providing CPR or AR can cause more harm than good in diagnosing and treating an injury if they are not professionals. Thus, it is important to ensure that you are trained, otherwise, do your best to get help and contact anyone who is trained. If you are trained, it is your duty to begin First Aid in the event of an emergency so you can help save a life using the techniques outlined in your training. Don't become a victim, and help save a life by registering in your local First Aid training program today and get your CPR Certification.

How to Get Certified

In the U.S., CPR training is often provided through the American Red Cross, but may also be completed by local fire departments and the American Heart Association (AHA). In Canada, certification courses are offered countrywide by independent trainers, but the two most popular providers of the program are the Canadian Red Cross, and the St. John's First Aid and CPR Training courses.

Many employers offer a reimbursement program for those looking to get certified, or you can get certified on your own to increase your chances of getting a job once you have your ticket. Be sure to check availability for courses and programs so you can get the edge on safety!