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Minnesotans Urged to Take Life Saving Measures into Own Hands

PHOTO: This is National CPR and AED Awareness Week. They are skills that are easy to learn and can save lives, but currently only about 1 in 3 people who have a sudden cardiac arrest receive CPR from a bystander. CREDIT: NASA

PHOTO: This is National CPR and AED Awareness Week. They are skills that are easy to learn and can save lives, but currently only about 1 in 3 people who have a sudden cardiac arrest receive CPR from a bystander. CREDIT: NASA


June 3, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. - When it comes to cases of sudden cardiac arrest, bystander CPR can double or even triple survival rates, but in the majority of such incidents there is no immediate help.

According to Kim Harkins, program manager for the Minnesota Resuscitation Consortium at the University of Minnesota, that's partly because of people not being certain how to perform CPR, or they may be wary of giving mouth-to-mouth, but she explained that the recommended method has changed over the years so it's simply chest compressions with a disco beat.

"We really encourage people just to compress on the chest, at least two inches, 100 times a minute. You can do it to the beat of 'Stayin' Alive.' So it is much easier, which takes away that fear of doing it wrong or having to give breaths," Harkins explained.

She notes that "doing something is always better than doing nothing" and there is a Good-Samaritan law in Minnesota providing protections to those who take life-saving actions in emergency situations.

With the arrival of summer and lots of people being out and active and playing in the water, Harkins said, this is the perfect time to brush up on first-aid skills, and learning CPR or how to use an AED is simple, with everything from free videos online to local resources.

"Many of our hospitals, community centers, fire departments are providing community CPR training as part of our efforts in Minnesota to train 10 percent of our population," she said. "Another option: the American Heart Association has a kit called 'CPR Anytime,' which is a kit you can purchase and do CPR training in the privacy of your own home."

While cardiac arrest is generally considered an issue for those who are older, Harkins said it can happen anywhere, anytime, and really at any age.

"We see all the time younger people, people who have been participating in activities, that suddenly collapse, and that is the population often with undiagnosed heart problems or congenital heart problems," she declared.

More than 20 percent of all deaths in Minnesota are attributable to heart disease. This is National CPR and AED Awareness Week.

More information is at bit.ly/15lVpJN.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN
 

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