Editor's Note

Editor’s Note: Don’t be afraid to help

The importance of learning to perform CPR and use an AED has taken center stage in 2023. With millions of NFL fans having watched Damar Hamlin go into cardiac arrest on live TV in January, and American Heart Month taking place in February, advocates have been using their platforms to spread the message.

I believe one point that doesn’t get addressed enough is that the thought of using CPR or an AED on someone during a medical emergency makes many people uneasy. They’re worried they may do something incorrectly and make matters worse. In his article this month, Safety+Health Associate Editor Barry Bottino points out why you shouldn’t be afraid to help.

For the S+H team, Barry’s article hits close to home. Shortly after joining the National Safety Council in 2013, Publisher Deborah Meyer completed the required first aid, CPR and AED training. Here’s the rest of the story, as shared in NSC’s employee newsletter:

Driving home one day, Debbie noticed her 1-month-old daughter was very quiet in the back seat, and she assumed Ellie had fallen asleep. But as she went to take Ellie out of the car, Debbie found her lifeless and turning blue. Because Debbie knew CPR, she jumped into action. Doctors told her if she hadn’t performed CPR as quickly has she had, Ellie could have experienced brain damage or died. Today, Ellie is a happy and healthy 8-year-old.

I hope that, as safety pros, you’ll encourage the workers you protect to learn (or get refreshed on) CPR and AED skills so they’re ready – and willing – to help someone in distress. As NSC first aid expert Carrie Bush says in Barry’s article, “The only way you can make it worse is by not doing anything.”

Melissa J. Ruminski The opinions expressed in “Editor’s Note” do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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