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Kristi's Kids: Knowing correct CPR technique critical in water e - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Kristi's Kids: Knowing correct CPR technique critical in water emergencies

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For a seventh straight year, we're tackling water safety and drowning prevention in southern Arizona. Every year, people are surprised to learn the proper way of doing C.P.R. when there is water in the lungs.

C.P.R. classes fall under the C in our ABC’s of water safety. When seconds count, you need to know what you're doing. There is no time for fear and confusion.

“My brother died of sudden cardiac arrest two years ago this mother's day at a local restaurant. Nobody did C.P.R. on him,” William Spurbeck, with the organization CPR 2 U told Kristi’s Kids. “We don't know if he would have survived or not, but it would have given him a fighting chance,” he said.

Last year, CPR 2 U taught 7,000 people in southern Arizona this lifesaving skill.

When there's water in the lungs, you must do rescue breaths, also known as mouth-to-mouth, or ventilation.

It’s a technique that is tough for some.

“People don't want to do mouth-to-mouth, if they don't have barriers. So, by starting compression, they can start circulating the oxygen in the tissue right off the bat,” Spurbeck told Kristi’s Kids.

In recent years, there's been a push for compression-only C.P.R., meaning no mouth-to-mouth. So, many people don't realize the rules change in a water emergency.

“It's a very simple exercise, which a lot more people can learn and do. In fact, people can do it over the telephone, by calling 9-1-1, and getting instructions from a dispatcher,” Dr. Art Sanders, with Sarver Heart Center, told Kristi’s Kids.

Sanders advised that compression-only may be good for sudden cardiac arrest, but the situation is different during a water emergency.

“With a drowning, it's a primary ventilatory arrest. The lungs are full of water, and the patient is unable to get air, oxygen, to the rest of their body,” Dr. Sanders told Kristi’s Kids.

So, mouth-to-mouth, or ventilation, is the exception to a new C.P.R. rule.

“Compression only for primary cardiac arrest, where the heart stops, and it's a heart problem. But, for near-drowning or drowning victims, we recommend ventilation, and then the compression in the standard ratio,” Dr. Sanders told Kristi’s Kids.

That's 30 chest compressions to every two breaths. It’s a cycle you repeat, until paramedics can take over, or the victim starts breathing on their own.

Your pace matters too. You should do those chest compressions to the beat of the Bee Gees' hit "Stayin’ Alive." Don't be alarmed if you hear ribs cracking, and make sure you're doing it on a hard, flat surface. You don't want any give, when you're trying to compress the chest.

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