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

Oliver Fire Department. (Submitted photo)
Burn pile fire spreads to nearby garage in Oliver

The fire could be seen from Highway 97 and was called in at 3:45 a.m.

KISU swim club member Justin Fotherby is one of six swimmers from across Canada to be recognized for the 2020-2021 Victor Davis Award. (Submitted photo)
Penticton swimmer wins major awards, closing in on Olympic dream

Justin Fotherby, a KISU club member, has just won the prestigious Victor Davis Award

Vaseux Lake. Grant Harder photo.
Letter: Why can’t we have motorized boats on Vaseux Lake?

Avid fisherman with a disability would love to use his pontoon

This elevated boardwalk will be replaced at the Osoyoos Desert Centre. (courtesy of the Osoyoos Desert Centre)
Funding to replace Osoyoos Desert Centre’s elevated boardwalk is ‘dream come true’

The 1.5 km boardwalk and trail is enjoyed by over 10,000 visitors annually

Wills Hodgkinson, 10, and his mom Neeley Brimer get ready to battle round three of cancer. The community of Penticton has his back. (Submitted)
Community raises $21K to help Penticton boy battle third round of cancer

Okanoggin Barbers held the fundraiser on Saturday for 10-year-old Wills Hodgkinson

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 vaccination set to start for B.C. seniors aged 80-plus

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Last year, more than 80 parents braved sub-zero temperatures to stand in line at Vernon’s Beairsto Elementary to ensure a Kindergarten spot for their children come September. Now, this first-come, first-served system is about to change. (Morning Star file photo)
COVID exposure at Vernon elementary school

Interior Health reporting exposure Feb. 19 and 22 at Beairsto

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

(Pxhere)
Compensation fund opens for B.C. students negatively affected by incorrect exam marks

Marks for 2019 provincial exams were incorrectly tabulated

Unknown Persona (Jacob Chrystal) performs at the Kelowna Community Theatre’s Black Box theatre on Feb. 28, 2021. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
The show must go on: Kelowna musicians take virtual stage to keep playing

Rebellious Unicorns offers local artists the chance to perform live, a rarity amid the COVID-19 pandemic

The humanoid sensing robot has a 3D printed finger cap that measures oxygen levels. (Dr. Woo Soo Kim)
Medical care robots being made with 3D origami in B.C. lab

Would you let a robot take your temperature?

B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell gets acquainted with Tsawwassen First Nation Chief Kim Baird’s 10-month-old daughter Sophia, husband Steve and four-year-old Amy at the B.C. legislature before a ceremony to endorse the Tsawwassen Treaty, Oct. 15, 2007. (Sharon Tiffin/Black Press)
Indigenous consent must come first and last for B.C. industrial projects

UN declaration seen as end to a history of horror stories

Most Read