Q & A
Q. Is it true that now there is no need to give breaths with CPR?

A. In a perfect world everyone would know how to perform conventional CPR. Unfortunately, in only about 25% of cardiac arrest incidents do bystanders respond with CPR. If a bystander is not trained, not able or unwilling to give rescue breaths they can improve the victims chances of survival by at least performing chest compressions. (For more information see the article "What is Hands Only CPR?" on the "What's New?" page.)

Q. Can I be sued if I try to help someone using the CPR or First Aid I have learned?

A. While it is true that anyone can sue anyone, anytime for anything, Good Samaritan laws in every state give responders protection from liability. As long as you are responding in good faith, do the best you can using the skills you have learned in a recognized training program, and obtain consent from a conscious adult victim you are covered by the "Good Sam" laws. (For more information see the complete Good Samaritan law applicable to your state.)

Q. Isn't it possible to catch some sort of disease by performing CPR on someone I don't know?

A. The risk of disease transmission while never quite zero, is very low in mouth to mouth contact during CPR. This risk can be reduced further by use of a simple, small and inexpensive CPR shield. In almost three quarters of incidents where CPR is performed, the victim is a family member of the responder. In addition, when dealing with a first aid emergency where blood or other body fluids may be involved it is always prudent to use medical exam gloves or other improvised barrier (such as a plastic bag over the hand(s).

Q. Can't I just call 911 and wait for paramedics to arrive?

A. The chances of survival of a victim in need of CPR diminish rapidly over a short period of time. In four to six minutes the body will deplete the residual oxygen supply in the blood leading to organ failure and/or brain damage and ultimately brain death.

Q. Can I injure someone by performing CPR improperly?

A. It is theoretically possible to cause some injury to a victim with CPR, remember that if they have no pulse and are not breathing doing nothing will result in a far worse outcome. According to Monica Kleinman, the vice chair of the AHA's Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee, "One thing most people don't know, is that there is almost nothing you can do [during CPR] to harm a person in cardiac arrest except delay responding."

Q. Isn't CPR hard to learn?

A. Not at all! Virtually anyone can learn to save a life with CPR. Over the past 10 years the guidelines have reduced the number of steps and simplified the process even more.

Q. What is an AED?

A. An AED is an Automated External Defibrillator used to treat a condition called Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA, may also be referred to as V-Fib, ventricular fibrillation). In SCA the heart's electrical system malfunctions and its rhythm suddenly becomes very irregular and the heart does not circulate blood. A shock from the AED will often restore a normal rhythm.

Q. Why should my business have an AED? If I know CPR and call 911 isn't that enough?

A. While performing CPR will help it is no substitute for quick defibrillation. For a victim of SCA, survival drops 10% a minute without defibrillation. In and urban area EMS response time is on average six to ten minutes. Having an AED on-site could be the difference between life and death for a victim of SCA.

Q. Aren't AEDs expensive?

A. Over the past few years the price of AEDs have dropped significantly. In fact, they now are about the same price as a standard office desktop computer. A small price to potentially save a life!