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

Alycia Weir (left) and Helena Oosthoek (right) of the Golden Family Center stand outside of the GFC building at their Bell Lets Talk stand last February. They are currently raising funds to help support their drop-in counselling program. (Claire Palmer photo)
Family center fundrasing for free counselling program

It’s important to have accesible care in the community

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

Ryan Bavin of Bavin Glassworks in Invermere. Photo: Submitted
Call for entries for Columbia Basin Culture Tour

Deadline for registration for artists and venues is April 15

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Multiple people were injured at a Vernon home following an early-morning break-in Saturday, March 6, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Multiple people left injured following break-and-enter in Vernon

Police believe the early-morning break-in was targeted and not a threat to the general public

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kelowna General Hospital

One patient and one staff member on Unit have tested positive for the virus.

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

A Coldstream resident who found an owl struggling on her property in March 2021 is now spreading awareness of about the knock-on effects of rodent poisoning. (Kathy Renaud photo)
Okanagan owl ‘fighting for her life’ after ingesting rat poison

Coldstream resident warns against the use of rodenticide due to risk of secondary poisoning in raptors

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Fire ripped through a mobile home on Boucherie Road in West Kelowna on March. 6. (Phil McLachlan - West Kelowna News)
‘My whole life just went up in smoke’; Fire consumes Okanagan mobile home

RCMP confirmed that there were no injuries due to the fire

Most Read