Less than 3 percent of Americans are trained in CPR. If someone were having a heart attack or experiencing cardiac arrest right in front of you, would you know what to do?
Jeff Rossen reports in his TODAY Show series, “Save My Life”, on Heart Attacks and Cardiac Arrest.
Dr. David Markenson, an Emergency Response Advisor with the American Red Cross and Chief Medical Officer of the Sky Ridge Medical Center / HealthONECares, showed TODAY National Investigative Correspondent Jeff Rossen how to save the life of someone having a heart attack or experiencing cardiac arrest, when seconds count:
- First, call 911. Emergency help will then be on its way.
- If the victim is awake and can swallow, give them aspirin to save their life.
- Know where the nearest automatic external defibrillator (AED) is and follow the step-by-step instructions. Most workplaces have AEDs and the instructions are clear and easy to follow.
- If there’s no AED nearby, CPR is the key thing. If the victim is unresponsive and not breathing, push the center of the chest hard and fast. Keep the blood flowing. It’s not important to be perfect; doing something is better than doing nothing.
Dr. Markenson said kids as young as 4 years old can follow these steps, and should be taught.
You can also download the Red Cross first aid app so instructions are on your phone if someone has a heart attack or experiences cardiac arrest right in front of you.
[TODAY Show Anchor, Savannah Guthrie]: We’re back at 7:42. Time for Rossen Reports and our series, “Save My Life”. This morning, TODAY National Investigative Correspondent Jeff Rossen is taking a closer look at heart attacks.
Jeff, good morning.
[TODAY National Investigative Correspondent, Jeff Rossen]: Hey, Savannah, good morning to you. Good morning, everyone.
If someone was having a heart attack right in front of you: at the office, at home, on the street, anywhere, would you know what to do?
Consider this, less than 3% of Americans are trained in CPR. If your heart stops, and no one helps, your chance of survival [is] only 6%. Well, guess what? You don’t need to be a paramedic or even trained in CPR at all. Anyone can help. You’ve heard me say it all week, and I’ll say it again right now, give me 2 minutes and I’ll show you how to save a life.
[Jeff Rossen]: It happens everywhere. From this man collapsing in a bank. To this school bus driver suffering a heart attack while driving children. So, would you know what to do if it happened right in front of you?
[Emergency Response Advisor, American Red Cross, Dr. David Markenson]: Everyone should know when someone has a heart attack or cardiac arrest, you can save their life.
[Jeff Rossen]: Dr. David Markenson is an Emergency Response Advisor with the American Red Cross.
[Dr. David Markenson]: First thing you should do is call 911. Emergency help will then be on its way.
[Jeff Rossen]: I’ve always heard that if someone’s having a heart attack, give them aspirin.
[Dr. David Markenson]: It’s the most important thing in a heart attack you can do to save a life. It helps keep blood pumping to the heart.
[Jeff Rossen]: You mean, you force feed aspirin?
[Dr. David Markenson]: If they’re awake and they can swallow, give them the aspirin to save their life.
One other thing, if their heart stops and they’re in cardiac arrest, the most important thing is an AED.
[Jeff Rossen]: AED – Automated External Defibrillator
[Dr. David Markenson]: Most places even like this, like a business, have one but most people don’t know where they are.
[Jeff Rossen]: I will tell you, I think I know where ours is here at NBC.
[Dr. David Markenson]: Can you show me where your AED is?
[Jeff Rossen]: I think. Can I walk there? I think it’s this way.
Winding the halls, I’m struggling.
Is it in here? It is not.
I could have sworn it was around here but I’m wrong.
Finally, it is right here. Got it. How long was that?
[Dr. David Markenson]: That was way too long.
[Jeff Rossen]: One minute and forty-three seconds to be exact. The victim could have died.
[Dr. David Markenson]: Anyone can use an AED. It gives you step-by-step instructions, calms you down.
Why don’t you try and see how easy it is?
[Jeff Rossen]: I just put it on?
[AED]: Apply pads.
[Jeff Rossen]: The pads even have photos of where you’re supposed to put them. This one is supposed to go here. And this one is supposed to go here.
[AED]: Plug in connector.
Analyzing heart rhythm. Do not touch the patient.
Shock advised. Stay clear of patient.
[Jeff Rossen]: Clear patient!
[AED]: Press the orange button now.
[Jeff Rossen]: Wow, that easy!
[Dr. David Markenson]: It is that easy.
[Jeff Rossen]: So what if you see it happening to someone and you’re outside, there is no AED around. What do you do?
[Dr. David Markenson]: CPR is the key thing. If they’re unresponsive and not breathing, just push hard and fast in the center of their chest. It’s not even important to be perfect. Doing something is better than doing nothing.
[End of Video]
[Jeff Rossen]: Here’s another cool feature of the AED, and we actually have that one right here. You guys were shocked at about how easy this is too. It actually analyzes the heart rhythms and the patient to determine if they need a shock. So you can’t make a mistake. You can’t shock them when they don’t need it. So, put this on, it will tell you whether to shock them or not.
And, by the way, you can download, we have all the tips on our facebook page right now, facebook.com/RossenReports . Or you can download, the Red Cross has a first aid app. You can have it right on your phone so if something happens in front of you, the instructions are right there.
[TODAY Anchors]: Oh, that’s good, ok. Is it a requirement that most buildings have the defibrillators now?
[Jeff Rossen]: Laws do vary. I mean, here in New York, here at NBC, we actually have them basically on every single floor but I didn’t know where it was.
[TODAY Anchors]: I didn’t know. I watched you running around. I didn’t know either.