#happylife: Learn CPR, a lifesaving skill for those experiencing cardiac arrest

#happylife: Learn CPR, a lifesaving skill for those experiencing cardiac arrest

Mom Sheri Riehl, owner of Sheri’s First Aid/CPR classes opened up her Spokane Valley classroom after a skill she knew for decades helped save her son’s life.

“I found my child unresponsive, gasping which means he was not breathing well, he needed CPR so I immediately started doing CPR.”

Sheri says she learned Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) at 14 years old and hoped she’d never have to use it.

“I know without a doubt that if I did not have the skill, he probably would not be here.”

It’s the same message she shares with the thousands of men and women she’s taught the procedure too.

CPR is needed when a person goes in to sudden cardiac arrest, one of the leading causes of death in the United States. The condition is a rhythm problem that occurs when the heart stops beating. CPR helps blood to continue to pump through the body and deliver oxygen to the brain until advanced treatment can stimulate the heart to work again.

Many different things can cause sudden cardiac arrest, from choking to a heart attack and drowning. Sheri adds that in some cases, you might not witness the event that lead to sudden cardiac arrest so it’s important to take a few steps before beginning CPR.

First, make sure the area is safe for you. If there is any danger for yourself or the person who might be in need, move them to a safe area.

“If the person doesn’t move, speak, blink or otherwise react when tapped, he is unresponsive and not breathing normally (or is only gasping), the person needs CPR. Make sure the person is lying on his back on a firm and flat surface,” she added.

Prior to starting CPR, call 911 or have someone do it for you. If you are in a public place, like a mall, school or community center, ask someone to bring you an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), a portable device that can check a heart’s rhythm and send a shock to restore a normal rhythm.

If you are performing CPR on an adult, lock your two hands together and place them in the middle of the persons chest, between the nipples. You must do 30 chest compressions for every 2 breaths. Chest compressions should be hard and quick, and about 2 inches in depth.

“It’s easy to remember if you think of the word CAB. Its Compressions Airway Breath. Start with compressions, open that airway with the head/chin tilt and give those two breaths and keep going till help arrives,” Sheri explained.

In the past, the ratio for CPR on children and babies was different, now for each it’s the same, 30 compressions for every 2 breaths. For a baby though, you only use 2 fingers for compressions.

Sheri’s First Aid/CPR classes allow students to walk away with an American Heart Association certification. Classes take about 4 hours and cost $66. While it’s less expensive than some, Sheri knows some might not be able to afford it or have the time. For that reason, she teaches abbreviated classes to families and businesses that want to learn the basic skills.

“70% of people who go in to cardiac arrest, it happens at home, and you never know when you are going to have to use it on a loved one,” she added.

Her son, Sean, who’s life she saved some years ago works now with her at the Spokane Valley location as well.

To register for a class, visit here or call Sheri at 509-995-4879.

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