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 Kimber family of Boston Bar lost their home in a fire. Blaine Kimber’s daughter created a fundraiser to help rebuild the home with the goal of $100,000. (Screenshot/GoFundMe)
Fundraiser created for Boston Bar family that lost everything in weekend fire

Witnesses say the Kimber family escaped the fire without injury, but their home is a total loss

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of March 7

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Chris Squires of The Wack Window Cleaning Company has created the #100housechallenge where he’ll be cleaning the exterior windows of 100 homes for free when an interior window cleaning service is purchased and a food item is donated to Wilma’s Transition Society. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack window cleaner ready to donate to Wilma’s through #100housechallenge campaign

Chris Squires enjoys providing service, wants to express it via donations, giving back to community

A cyclist was struck at the intersection of Prest and Bailey roads in Chilliwack on Saturday, March 6, 2021. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Cyclist struck by SUV in Chilliwack

Incident happened at Prest and Bailey roads around 2:45 p.m. Saturday

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

A West Kootenay man died in an avalanche on March 4 while snowmobiling near Mount Payne, which is indicted by the red flag. Illustration: Google Maps
B.C. father of 3 dead after avalanche in West Kootenay

The man was snowmobiling with a group when incident occurred March 4

Surrey RCMP are investigating a “serious” collision near Cloverdale Saturday evening. (Curtis Kreklau photo)
Man dead after single vehicle collision in Surrey; speed possible factor

Police say vehicle collided with telephone pole at approximately 9:30 p.m.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Vaccine hesitancy decreases in B.C. as mass immunizations set to begin: poll

Two-thirds of British Columbians, and Canadians, would get the vaccine as soon as possible

Software engineer Shaimma Yehia, 40, has been forced to re-skill during the COVID-19 pandemic after more than six years of unsuccessfully applying for jobs in B.C.’s tech industry. (Submitted photo/Shaimma Yehia)
Why skilled immigrant women continue to be shut out of B.C.’s booming tech sector

Experienced software engineer Shaimma Yehia, 40, hasn’t found a job since she migrated to Canada 6 years ago

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover digging in with B.C.-made part

Kennametal’s Langford plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

A woman walks through Toronto’s financial district on Monday, July 30, 2018. A new poll suggests most Canadians believe there’s still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in this country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Canadians, especially women, say gender equality not achieved in Canada: Poll

Poll results themselves underscore the challenge, with more men believing equality had been achieved

Most Read