MAYPEARL – Members of the Maypearl Volunteer Fire Department spent Tuesday in class refreshing a lifesaving technique that’s been in practice for years.

Firefighters spent the better part of the evening learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR as it’s commonly known and its application on adults, children and infants.

Leading the class in its instruction were registered nurses Kris Rencher and Linda Horn. The pair provided practice dummies and one-on-one instruction to the group.

“Now you have to remember when you’re performing CPR you want to keep your hands in the same spot when you are doing compressions. Also, you want to keep the fingers away from the rib cage so you won’t crack a rib and puncture a lung. Use the palm,” Rencher said.

“Remember, you do a series of two breaths followed by 30 chest compressions then another two breaths. If there are two people working, switch off every 15 compressions. Compressions are done in the center of the chest just below the nipples.”

While firefighters worked with dummies to practice and perfect the technique, an instructional video provided class members with other useful information. The video showed demonstrations and step-by-step instructions when arriving upon a person in need. 

The first thing that needs to be looked at before starting any type of action taken is to ensure the surrounding area is safe. Then check to see if a response can be generated from that injured or incapacitated person. The next step is to call for help and if help comes from another person have him or her call 9-1-1 to get emergency response. Also, if it is in an office or public building, instruct that person to get a portable defibrillator.

“In a lot of places, defibrillator are kept alongside first aid kits and are very user-friendly. They are designed so that anyone can operate them without training,” Rencher said. “They have step-by-step instructions that are on the inside of the box along with where to place the pads on the body.”

Before breathing into a person, remember to tilt the head back with a chin lift to open up the airway. Also, before blowing air into a person, remember to pinch his or her nose and watch for the chest to rise.

“Remember to look for breathing before beginning CPR. Don’t be fooled by a gasping sound that might happen at first for a sign of response. Gasping is not breathing,” Rencher said. “Also remember to remove any clothing that might be in the way that could effect how CPR is performed.”

Firefighters were instructed in how to perform CPR on children ages 1 to 8 and on infants. With children, CPR is performed generally with one hand doing chest compressions and the other holding the head. It is also recommended to use the palm while performing compressions. Before compressions, check for a response from the victim, then tilt his or her head back using a chin lift and breath twice, watching for the chest to rise. Follow this by a set of 30 compressions and repeat.

On infants, Rencher recommended that firefighters check for a response by tapping the bottom of the baby’s feet. The next step was to take hold the baby in one hand, tilting it toward the ground and to do five taps to the back. This step is to ensure that if there is anything lodged in the throat, that the taps will jar it loose with the assistance of gravity.

“You should not put your fingers down the throat to remove the object. You could end up doing more harm than good,” she said. “The object might get lodged down further in the throat if that is done. Even if an object is dislodged from the infant it is still recommended they be transported to the hospital to be further checked out by a doctor as a precautionary matter. ”

If still unresponsive, put the infant flat on his or her back and tilt the head back using the chin to open the airway up. Instead of two breaths of air, give two quick puffs, and watch the chest to see if it rises. Then do a set of 30 chest compressions with two fingers. Compressions should be done in the center of the chest just below the nipples. While this is being performed have someone call 9-1-1.

Firefighters worked in pairs at each of the nine instructional dummies. The group was shown the process of CPR in steps and then put them together at the end for the final exercise.

E-mail Andrew at andrew.branca@wninews.com