Hands-only CRP has been proven to be far more effective than mouth-to-mouth and is far safer during the COVID-19 pandemic, says Leon Baranowski, B.C. Emergency Health Services paramedic practice leader. (BCEHS stock photo)

Hands-only CRP has been proven to be far more effective than mouth-to-mouth and is far safer during the COVID-19 pandemic, says Leon Baranowski, B.C. Emergency Health Services paramedic practice leader. (BCEHS stock photo)

CPR during COVID-19: How to save someone’s life without risking your own

Paramedics share tips after civilians perform safe CPR on cardiac arrest patient in B.C. park

Two civilians stepped in to perform chest compressions after a man suffered a cardiac arrest in a B.C. park on Jan. 19.

In their wake, B.C. Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) commended their swift action while emphasizing hands-only CPR is far more effective than mouth-to-mouth and safer during the pandemic.

According to BCEHS, the 911 call came in at 11:45 a.m. for a man in cardiac arrest in the Mount Douglas Park restrooms near Victoria. Two paramedic crews and the Saanich Fire Department attended and the patient was taken to the hospital in serious condition.

Leon Baranowski, BCEHS paramedic practice leader, said everyone is a link in the chain of survival and can play a role in saving the life of a patient in cardiac arrest – even during the pandemic. Bystanders who feel comfortable stepping in are encouraged to perform chest compressions.

RELATED: CPR month promotes hands-on approach to life-saving

RELATED: Paramedic who saved drowning boy at Langford pool hopes others learn CPR

Research has shown that hands-only CPR is “more efficient in saving a life” and the campaign to spread awareness about the change in best practice pre-dates COVID-19, he explained. Mouth-to-mouth “isn’t warranted” and is no longer recommended but the old messaging and portrayals in TV shows make people feel they need to do it.

“It looks more heroic but it’s not” and there’s still a lot to be done to inform the public about the change, Baranowski said.

Mouth-to-mouth was also a barrier to early intervention because bystanders weren’t comfortable putting their mouth on a stranger. However, he said there is less resistance from the public when it comes to chest compressions and a quick response is key because for every minute without CPR, a cardiac arrest patient’s chances of survival drop about 10 per cent.

The goal is to reinforce that proper CPR on the chest is all that’s needed – especially now that there is a risk of spreading COVID-19.

When assisting a patient in cardiac arrest during the pandemic, place a mask over their mouth or cover their face with something and then focus on starting chest compressions while calling 911. Baranowski recommends recruiting another bystander to make the call or using speakerphone so that the chest compressions don’t stop because keeping the blood pumping to the brain is essential.

Emergency medical call-takers will provide guidance for bystanders who are unsure what to do and can set a pace for chest compressions. A basic CPR training course can also “reduce fumbling” and help civilians feel more confident stepping in.

Some 45,000 Canadians are hospitalized for a cardiac arrest every year and their survival rate can go up 75 per cent with early intervention and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED), Baranowski said. AEDs can often be found at libraries, gyms and grocery stores and are automated to guide the user through the process.

He added that those who are confident in their ability to perform CPR can download the PulsePoint app and sign up to receive alerts when someone in a public space less than 400 metres away is in cardiac arrest. The app also shows where the nearest AED is located.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

District of SaanichEmergency calls

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Great Bear Snowshed on the Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5) in British Columbia. Truck driver Roy McCormack testified in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack on Feb. 25, 2021 that his brakes started smoking in about this location, and soon after he lost all braking, which led to a multi-vehicle crash further down the road on Aug. 5, 2016. (GoogleMaps)
Truck driver charged with criminal negligence in Coquihalla crash is accused of ignoring smoking brakes

Just before crashing the smoking truck was seen entering Zopkios brake check and leaving shortly after

Dr. Andy Edelson (front left) and Ken Selvaraja hold the cheque, with (from left to right) Jim Hinds president of Rotary Club of Mission, Judith Ray, chair of MATH and Lloyd Rash, Mission rotarian in the back.
Funds raised for CT scanner feasibility study at Mission Memorial Hospital

Ken Selvaraja and Lanka Jewels raise $39,000 of $70,000 needed through pendant raffle

Kathleen Gros will be helping local creatives explore the intersection of words and pictures through comic books in an upcoming online workshop.
Vancouver graphic novelist to share skills in online workshop with Agassiz Library

Kathleen Gros will be leading the Magical World of Words and Pictures workshop on March 6

The last three wild northern spotted owls live near the Spuzzum Watershed outside of Hope. The province recently ordered a halt to logging for at least a year to give the owls a chance to survive.  (Photo/Jared Hobbs)
Logging halted in northern spotted owl habitat near Hope

Halt will last at least a year, gives time to formulate survival plan for Northern Spotted Owl

The Rocket Science S.T.E.M. camp will run virtually during spring break. (Submitted photo)
Abbotsford Airshow, Gearbots Educational Resources launch Rocket Science camp

Virtual format of camp open to students aged nine and up, will run during spring break

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Shaelene Keeler Bell. (Facebook)
Candlelight vigil planned for Chilliwack mother missing for four weeks

Virtual event to ‘spread some light’ for 23-year-old Shaelene Bell of Chilliwack

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

The booklet roots present day activism in the history of racist policies, arguing the history must be acknowledged in order to change. (CCPA)
New resource dives into 150 years of racist policy in B.C.

Racist history must be acknowledged in order to change, authors say

Most Read