Do you know CPR, how to use a defibrillator? Learn these skills and more during CPR Awareness Week

Denise Dador Image
Friday, June 7, 2024
CPR saves lives. Local program teaches this valuable skill, plus more
Do you know how to perform CPR or work a defibrillator? As part of CPR Awareness Week, L.A. County is teaching these life-saving skills, plus much more.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- If someone near you has a heart attack or experiencing an overdose situation, the minutes between when you call 911 and when rescuers arrive can make the difference between life and death.

During CPR Awareness Week, L.A. County health officials are launching an ambitious readiness campaign that you can start right now.

Seconds count when you see a loved one collapse.

"If you're called upon to initiate hands-only CPR, it would probably be somebody that you live with - a family member, a friend, a roommate," said Stella Fogleman, director of emergency preparedness and response for Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Seventy percent of sudden cardiac arrests happen outside a hospital. Last year, the department trained more than half a million county residents in hands-only CPR. They went out to many community events including music venues.

"That rate that you're doing your chest compressions - it's the same rate for a lot of dance songs," she said.

Fogelman said the use of bystander CPR is increasing year after year. Building on that, health officials launched the Community Readiness Champions initiative.

These online courses go beyond CPR. You'll get a primer on automatic external defibrillators, or AEDs. You can learn how to administer naloxone for opioid overdoses. Plus, in the event of traumatic injury, you'll get some training on how to stop uncontrollable bleeding.

Also, if someone is facing a life-threatening mental crisis, one module walks you through what to do first.

"We ask people to listen non-judgmentally. Let the person talk it out," Fogleman said.

Approaching someone on the street with mental health concerns may not be something you want to do if you don't feel safe, but Fogleman said learning how to deal with it within your own family could make a difference.

"Sometimes we don't know the best way to help people, especially when they're in a crisis situation. So we teach people how to approach and how to assess any potential risk," she said.

Hands-on training, like a recent event put on by Adventist Health and the Glendale Fire Department, can also add to your confidence.

Fogleman said the first step to becoming a Community Readiness Champion is to start online. But in an emergency, call 911 first.

"In those minutes in between, if you want to learn how you might be able to help additionally, these are some skills that can help save a life," she said.

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