Yuma, Arizona - Last week the Yuma Fire Department responded 14 times to reports of unconscious people, with several of them being in cardiac arrest and needing Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). In at least 4 cases bystanders were doing CPR when Paramedics arrived.

Would you know what to do if someone suddenly became unresponsive? According to the University of Arizona’s Sarver Heart Center, every year more than 160,000 people die of sudden cardiac arrest.

Cardiac arrest is a condition where the heart suddenly stops pumping blood. In many cases, the heart goes from a regular heartbeat to random twitching (called ventricular fibrillation). When a person is in cardiac arrest, circulation and blood pressure (and breathing) stop, and the person becomes unconscious. In this condition, quick action must be taken to increase a person’s chances of survival. These recommended actions are often referred to as the “Chain of Survival” and are:

  • Calling 911 (Getting the Paramedics on the way, and this will often also include CPR directions from the Emergency Medical Dispatcher)
  • Starting CPR  (Chest compressions especially!)
  • Early Defibrillation (Using an Automated External Defibrillator-AED- if one is available)
  • Early Arrival of Advanced Care (Paramedics)

Since 2009, the Yuma Fire Department has been providing instruction in the new “Compression Only” CPR (that does not include mouth to mouth resuscitation), and has trained over 13,000 people!  Studies have shown this method is not only more likely to be used, but also is more effective than traditional CPR.

For more information about fire and injury prevention classes we offer, contact the Yuma Fire Department Public Information Office at 928-373-4855,