It is a hot day, and you’re walking up the escalator at the USU, which has been broken for who knows how long. You’re feeling exhausted when you witness a student collapse and go into cardiac arrest. You are the only other person there; what would you do?
“I would call 911 or try to ask someone who knows how to perform CPR,” said Jesi Chavez, a first year social work graduate student at California State University, Long Beach. “I used to be CPR certified, but it expired. I would want to help the person, but I wouldn’t want to perform it if I didn’t remember the whole thing.”
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, is a term that a lot of people are familiar with. However, if we were to ask how many people are able to perform it, the number would be low.
The automatic response for a person like Chavez in this given situation would probably be to call 911. But what are you going to do while you’re waiting for the paramedics to arrive and the person in front of you is in need of assistance right away?
According to Capt. Bill Lyons of the Long Beach Fire Department, the national standard time for medics to arrive onsite in response to a call is around eight minutes.
“After four minutes under cardiac arrest, the brain has a higher risk of developing permanent damage,” Lyons said. “The sooner the victim receives CPR, the more positive their outcome will be before the medics come.”
The city of Long Beach, as well as CSULB, offers many programs where students can get CPR certified.
Michael Freeman, aquatics coordinator at CSULB, says that students can sign up for various certification programs including the American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor program, the American Heart Association first aid/ CPR/ AED, and the American Red Cross Lifeguard class at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center.
“Having a CPR certification is very important because you can potentially be the reason [that] a victim lives when the medics can’t respond on time,” said Khanh Kieu, third year kinesiology major.
Being CPR certified is beneficial in life or death situations. However, if you were to perform it while uncertified or without having prior knowledge of how to perform CPR, the person’s life would be at even greater risk, and you can be held liable for the person’s death.
Knowledge of CPR is a great skill to have, and a certification can help you become a better candidate for jobs such as lifeguard, childcare provider, or personal trainer.
“I was given the opportunity to perform CPR on a medical call where a man went into cardiac arrest when I went on a ride along with a fire department I used to volunteer for,” said Isai Lopez, a third year health science major. “Since I had the training from CPR classes, I knew exactly what to do and wasn’t nervous.”
You can have the rewarding feeling that Lopez had when he saved a life. The next time you are debating over buying some shoes or some electronic gadget you don’t need, get CPR certified instead, and gain a valuable skill you can carry with you for the rest of your life.