Olympic track and field great Jesse Owens succinctly described the necessity of effective training for his sport. He might have easily been talking about training to counter a cardiac arrest: “A lifetime of training for just ten seconds,” he said.
To make those ten seconds truly count when a person’s life hangs in the balance, bystanders must be ready to act. June 1-7 is National CPR + AED Awareness Week – a perfect time to learn how to save a life.
Those trained to respond to a cardiac arrest can make all the difference between life and death, no matter where it occurs. “If an emergency occurs during the workday, our associates are our first responders,” says Tracy Fagan Duffy, senior vice president of strategic operations at Natixis Global Asset Management. “We need them to act swiftly and accurately to ensure the best possible outcome.”
Ensuring Employees Are Ready to Act
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) training must be more than a person at the front of the room delivering a PowerPoint presentation. It needs to engage employees. The American Red Cross answer is to keep training interactive.
That’s why the Red Cross uses “active learning,” where students take turns simulating the roles of student, coach and observer in CPR/AED skills sessions. This “peer-to-peer” format fosters a highly active learning environment. This furthers memory retention and better prepares students for real world, team response situations.
“You are not responding to an emergency alone, so we realize we need to learn how to integrate that,” said Owen Long, director, First Responder and Aquatic Training for the Red Cross.
For the Red Cross, it’s not just about quantity, it’s about quality. Training is as close to real life as possible.
“It Was Second Nature to Us”
The importance of CPR and AEDs is not lost on the employees of Shelby Electric Cooperative. They helped save the life of forestry foreman Kevin Carlen when he lost consciousness while hanging mid-air as part of a pole top rescue training.
“I took two steps and then everything went black,” recalled Carlen.
His fellow linemen sprang into action, belaying him down the pole, calling 911, beginning CPR and getting the AED.
The AED re-established Carlen’s heartbeat to its normal rhythm.
“I’ve seen how people doing the training year after year after year – it was second nature to us when it did occur,” said Thad France, manager of line-worker development for Shelby Electric Cooperative. “As I started yelling instructions, everybody was already doing everything I was yelling.”
It took the ambulance 3½ minutes to arrive, during which the years of training and access to the right equipment kicked in. Being prepared made the difference in the most important 3 ½ minutes of their stricken colleague’s life.
Luke Brown, an apprentice lineman at Shelby Electric, summed it up: “If you can just save somebody, why wouldn’t you?”
A variety of training courses are available. Register today.