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Life-Saving Priorities

By on May 30, 2016 in Life-Saving Priorities | 0 comments

Life-Saving Priorities

According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, the procedures set out in this chapter can maintain a victim’s breathing and circulation until emergency help arrives.


With an unconscious victim your priorities are to maintain an open airway, to breathe for the victim (to get oxygen into the body), and to maintain blood circulation (to get oxygenated blood to the tissues). In an adult during the first minutes after the heart stops (cardiac arrest), the blood oxygen level remains constant, so chest compressions are more important than rescue breaths in the initial phase of resuscitation. After about five minutes, the blood oxygen level falls and rescue breathing becomes more important. The combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths is called cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR.

In addition to CPR, a special machine called an automated external defibrillator (AED) can be used to deliver an electric shock that may restore a normal heartbeat.

In children and infants, a problem with breathing is that most likely reason for the heart to stop. They are therefore given TWO initial rescue breaths before chest compressions are started.

If all of the following elements are complete, the victim’s chances of survival are as good as they can possibly be:

Emergency help is called quickly;

CPR is used to provide circulation and oxygen;

AED is used promptly;

Specialized treatment and advanced care arrived quickly.

Chain of Survival

Four elements increase the chances of a collapsed victim surviving. If any one of the elements in this chain is missing, the chances are reduced.

Early help. Call 911 for emergency help. Look for any available AED or send a bystander for one.

Early CPR. Chest compressions and rescue breaths are used to “buy time” until expert help arrives.

Early defibrillation. A controlled electric shock from an AED is given. This can “shock” the heart into a normal rhythm.

Early advanced care. Specialized treatment by paramedics and in the hospital stabilizes the victim’s condition.

chain of survival

What happens in the first few minutes of an emergency can be a matter of life or death. Next week we will continue with life-saving priorities covering the importance of an open airway, maintaining circulation and restoring heart rhythm.

Call CPR works today to schedule all of your training needs.  We offer ACLS, BLS Provider, HeartSaver CPR / AED and Bloodborne Pathogens trainings.Please visit our website at

We also offer onsite training.  Please call to schedule your classes at 239-292-4225.

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