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Green Bay Metro firefighters offer tips on how to help someone in cardiac arrest

Posted at 11:19 PM, Jan 03, 2023

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — According to the American Red Cross, there are half a million cardiac arrests every year. For each minute that defibrillation is delayed, a person's chance of survival drops by 10 percent.

When a bystander conducts CPR, the Red Cross says it can double or triple an individual's chance to live.

Cardiac arrest can be a life or death situation.

Green Bay Metro Fire Department Lt. Shauna Walesh says symptoms of cardiac arrest include sudden collapse, and somebody not breathing.

And when someone is in cardiac arrest, she says it's important to stop and check on that person.

"The biggest thing that you can do to help somebody is activate the emergency system, or call 9-1-1," Walesh said.

They say if you are trained in CPR, go ahead and do it.

"Anybody can do it," Assistant Chief Ryan Gibbons said. "But, it's important to get trained to be able to do it."

But if you're not sure how to perform it, Walesh says a 9-1-1 operator can help talk you through it.

"Pump hard and fast on their chest, and let the chest fully recoil," Walesh said.

It also helps to have an AED nearby.

"An AED is an automatic external defibrillator," Gibbons said. "It's a device that delivers an electrical shock to the person that's down to their heart."

Walesh says AED's can be found in buildings, businesses, and schools.

"Take a look as you're walking in and see if you can see one," Walesh said.

Wisconsin state law requires AED's in child care centers and some schools. Students in grades 7 through 12 are required to learn about AED's.

And if you have your own AED, Walesh says make sure you can easily access it.

"I use the fire extinguisher as an example," Walesh said. "If you have a fire in your home, you don't want to have to go down in your basement and grab the fire extinguisher. Same thing applies for an AED. You want to have it close by in case you need it."

The Green Bay Metro Fire Department does not offer AED/CPR classes. However, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and the Red Cross do.

The Red Cross sent NBC 26 the following statement:

“Our thoughts are with Damar Hamlin, his family and the entire NFL community, and we are hopeful he has a fast and full recovery.

Accidents and emergencies can happen anytime at home, in the workplace or in the community. Every second counts when sudden cardiac arrest occurs, and it’s critical to know what to do in an emergency. If you see someone suddenly collapse and you don’t know CPR, call or have someone else call 911 and start Hands-Only CPR.

The Red Cross recommends this lifesaving training for everyone, including parents, grandparents and caregivers. Red Cross First Aid training takes only a few hours, and can give you the skills and confidence to act in an emergency and help save a life.”
American Red Cross