Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Getting over the yuck factor

Photo: House members and staff practice compressions during the first of two American Heart Association Heartsaver and Automated External Defibrillator training courses.

Put my mouth where? On whom? These types of questions flash through the minds of many people during a situation in which someone may need CPR assistance. Germs. Disease. Saliva. Cooties. The "yuck factor," as an Associated Press story put it.

Would the yuck factor deter you from jumping in to help save a stranger's life? I hate to admit it to myself, but I don't know if I would be willing to get fresh with Mr. Joe-next-door if I was placed in that situation. It's a terrible thing to admit, but it's the truth.

Yesterday, twenty-eight of my colleagues and I, including Rep. Ryan Yamane, chair of the Health Committee, and his staff, attended an American Heart Association Heartsaver and Automated External Defibrillator training course at the Hawaii State Capitol. Guess what we found out? Giving mouth-to-mouth is soooo last year. We learned that the American Heart Association (AHA) revised their CPR guidelines last March to include Hands-Only CPR as a possible method for people "unwilling or unable" to give two quick breaths.


Photo: Rep. Ryan Yamane prepares to give the mannequin two breaths with a resuscitation device.

Here's the gist of how to handle a situation: 1.) Send someone to call 911 or, if alone, call 911 yourself. 2.) Send someone to retrieve an AED, 2.) Push hard and fast in the middle of the chest (100 compressions per minute).

That's it. Not too tough on the hippocampus, eh?

During the two-and-a-half-hour course, we were also trained in traditional HeartSaver CPR and how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), or " the shock machine," as I call it. It was by far the quickest, easiest and most effective CPR training that I have ever signed up for. I doubt that I will ever forget what I learned during this course. It was fun, informative and hands-on the entire time. The training was led by Pam Foster of the AED Institute.

The House of Representatives will soon have three PowerHeart AED machines that will be located with the fire extinguishers on the Mauka side of the third and fourth floors and the Ewa side of the basement level. The blue and white AEDs automatically turns on once the lid is opened. House Sergeant-at-Arms warns that "there are severe penalties for anyone playing with the machines if not used for emergency purposes."

This is the first year that the House has offered CPR/AED training to representatives and permanent staff. Concerned about the health, welfare and safety of House members, staff, and visitors, Speaker Calvin Say authorized the training to get as many employees as possible certified by the AHA for a two year period.

The next training date will be on January 20, 2009.

"At the conclusion of this training next week, over 50 members and staff will be ready to kokua in time of emergency," said Kevin Kuroda, House Sergeant-at-Arms.

Photos: Rep. Ryan Yamane looks on as Lon Paresa, House assistant sergeant-at-arms, finishes off two minutes of compressions on a mannequin before the next shock from the AED.

1 comment:

Robert said...

The House of Representatives will soon have three PowerHeart AED machines that will be located with the fire extinguishers on the Mauka side of the third and fourth floors and the Ewa side of the basement level.