By Lynne Phillips
Nearly one quarter of Americans say they have been in a situation where someone needed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), according to the American Red Cross. "If you were one of them, would you know what to do," they asked?Drivers of buses in the New London Local School District are routinely trained in first aid and CPR, according to transportation supervisor Dan Bailey. "Our bus drivers are well trained and well prepared," said Bailey. The district's special needs driver Nola Dillard, EHOVE driver Delmar Jenkins and aid Gale Brown recently received American Red Cross Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training. The class was held at Firelands Ambulance Service (FAS) in New London. The class was instructed by FAS Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Intermediate Steve Logan. Bailey said it is part of the protocol for special needs drivers to be trained in first aid and CPR. "Dillard is the special needs driver, Brown the aid on the bus and Jenkins has several special needs students on his bus." "The first thing you must do in order to do CPR on anybody is to find the proper hand position," Logan explained. "The best way to do that is to draw an imaginary line between the nipples, drop down one finger below that in the center of the chest. If you don't follow that imaginary line, the other way is to follow the rib cage up to where it meets, at the mid-sternal notch. Always when you follow the mid-sternal notch go towards the head," he cautioned. "When you reach the notch place one finger on it and then one finger above it, and just above it you cross your hands and begin compressions." Using "Annie" he demonstrated the proper way to do chest compressions For an adult you would compress their chest one to two and half inches. "It sounds like an awful lot," he said, "but it is straight down. The best position for CPR is to put yourself over top of the individual with your arms locked in. If you try to do CPR with just your arms you may slip off of the individual, break more of their ribs and your arms get very tired very quickly. "The key," Bailey said, "when you start lock your elbows. That way you are using your whole body to do compressions rather than just your arms. Your muscles will get fatigued very quickly if you don't lock your elbows." Logan said the longest he has ever had to do CPR on anyone was 40 minutes. "Forty minutes is a long time and you must have the proper hand position. You want to give 100 compressions in three minutes. "How fast does your heart beat," he asked? The average person's heart beats 60 to 80 beats per minute. So you are on the low side with 100 to 120 compressions in three minutes." "If you have never done CPR before, he cautioned, it will send a shiver up and down your arm because it feel like you are breaking every bone in their body. You have to remember your rib cage is held together with cartilage and in order to compress the heart through the cartilage it will sound like crunching because ribs are breaking. "If a person is at the point where they need CPR a few broken ribs are better than the alternative," he pointed out. According to the American Red Cross, hands-only CPR is a potentially lifesaving technique involving no mouth-to-mouth contact. It is best used in emergencies where someone has seen another person suddenly lapse. The hands-only technique increases the likelihood of surviving cardiac emergencies that occur outside of medical settings.