CPR and First Aid History and Techniques
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CPR and First Aid History and Techniques

CPR and first aid and first aid techniques have been around for millions of years. As vital as it is, many people are fearful in learning CPR and first aid or do not fully understand how to perform the technique in order to save a life. Additionally, there are many jobs and careers that can benefit from the knowledge of CPR and first aid certification, not to mention the life and well-being of your own family.

CPR and first aid is short for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation that is important in first aid and saving lives. CPR is practiced throughout the world and dates way back to the 1700s. As important as this skill is for everyday well-being, many people do not know how to perform it.  Such a skill as CPR when performed quickly and properly can save the life of a cardiac arrest victim.

CPR and first aid was not fully demonstrated until the 1950s by James Elam and later by Dr. Peter Safar, presenting its superiority as a first aid technique.  Dr. Safar also wrote a book in 1957 entitled the “ABC of Resuscitation.” It took until the 1970s before CPR was introduced to the public for learning. 

Some techniques of CPR and first aid were used back in the 18th century throughout Japan and Europe but it was not until the 20th century that Elam and Safar discovered the effective method of CPR and first aid as we know it today.  Dr. Safar did further research on life support procedures including the method of controlling the airway to help a person to breathe. His research demonstrated how to tilt a person’s head with an open mouth in order to use mouth-to-mouth breathing.  Dr. Safar went further to combine the closed-chest cardiac massage as taught in CPR lessons for basic life support.

It is estimated that over 350,000 people a year will suffer from cardiac arrest in the U.S., which is one every 90 seconds.  Many of those people will undergo CPR and first aid from bystanders or medical staff, not always with success. Most people believe that CPR and first aid is used for the purpose of restarting a heart although that is not the case. The main purpose of this first aid technique is to return the body’s flow of blood and its oxygen throughout the person’s system in order to delay tissue death and brain damage.  The principle of CPR and first aid is to keep the person alive in such an emergency until medical attention can be rendered.

Dr. Safar never wanted to take credit for developing CPR and first aid since he only made current and long-time procedures more effective. He called it the “ABCs” to CPR; Airways, Breathing and Circulation.  As a result, to further educate others on these methods, Dr. Safar worked with Norwegian toy maker Laerdal to create the CPR training mannequin.  Since then, Laerdal now manufactures medical equipment.

One of the most rewarding things you can do for your life and others is to take classes in CPR and First Aid Certification.  This very powerful skill can literally help you to save lives in any field, career or even in your own personal life.  Many states in our country highly recommend that more people sharpen their skills on saving someone’s life. Vermont and North Carolina are among five specific states in the U.S. that require CPR and first aid as a certified class for graduating high school.  A legislative house bill #837 has been signed and approved by overwhelming vote.  Although such classes have been required for years, it is now enforced.  As a result, these kids are already prepared to face any career with CPR capabilities as promoted by their state.

Many of the jobs that benefit with a CPR and first aid certificate are life guards, camp staff, teachers, personal trainers, baby sitters and coaches.  Anyone in the medical field should be well-educated with CPR and first aid first aid skills such as physician assistants, nurses, certified nursing assistants, first responders, emergency medical technicians, not to mention firefighters and police officers. The list is endless and many employers may require that you be certified. Anyone working with people can benefit from these skills such as day care providers, personal nannies, factory workers, logging workers, electricians, social workers and more.

The main barrier to learning the CPR and first aid techniques and work in a field that requires it comes from boredom or fear.  Some may have the apprehension of working with the mannequin, breathing into it after being used by another person. Others may be fearful of the mouth-to-mouth procedure on another human being, not knowing if it could possibly save a life. They fear failure.

CPR and first aid, as you can see, has been around for centuries, even though many people are apprehensive about learning the techniques. Just think how rewarding it is to save a life that may not be spared without your knowledge and CPR and first aid skills; a life that may even include friends and loved ones.

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