“Anyone, anywhere and at any time may have a breathing problem that requires CPR to save their life,” this is according to an official at the Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ), a voluntary partner of the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW).
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency technique that can help save a person’s life if their breathing or heart stops. CPR uses chest compressions to mimic how the heart pumps. These compressions help to keep blood flowing throughout the body.
According to the MOHW, CPR awareness is crucial in Jamaica because cardiovascular disease (heart disease) remains the leading cause of death. The MOHW reports that most cardiac arrests happen outside of the hospital and four to six minutes after an arrest, the brain will stop receiving oxygenated blood. However, prompt CPR can increase a person’s chance of survival.
Scenarios That Require CPR
The general situations that require CPR are:
- A foreign object stuck in throat (oesophagus)
e.g. toys, a piece of food, marbles, beads, guinep seeds, etc.
- Near-drowning experiences
- Allergic reactions
- Medical emergencies related to a heart condition
- Collapse due to various triggers such as high-endurance activities
- Ensure the scene is safe for you and the person needing CPR.
- Check if the person is responsive then call the police or ambulance for assistance.
- Open the airway: With the person lying on his or her back, tilt the head back slightly to lift the chin.
- Check for breathing: Listen carefully, for no more than 10 seconds, for sounds of breathing. (Occasional gasping sounds do not equate to breathing.) If there is no breathing, begin CPR.
- Begin chest compressions using body weight to help.
- Deliver rescue breaths: With the person’s head tilted back slightly and the chin lifted, pinch the nose shut and place your mouth over the person’s mouth to make a complete seal. Blow into the person’s mouth to make the chest rise.
- The HFJ only encourages mouth-to-mouth resuscitation for individuals who are familiar with each other, otherwise only chest compressions (hands-only CPR) are advised while awaiting medical assistance.
Recognising the need for further awareness, the MOHW in partnership with the HFJ and other organisations provide information and training.
For additional information, contact:
Ministry of Health & Wellness
10-16 Grenada Way
Telephone: 876-633-8172, 876-633-7771
Heart Foundation of Jamaica
28 Beechwood Avenue
Telephone: 876-926-4378/ 876-929-3195/ 876-926-6492/ 876-619-7007-8
Jamaica Red Cross Headquarters
76 Arnold Road