American Heart Month, and the National Safety Council, a leader in First Aid and CPR training, wants to make sure your workplace is ready in the event of a medical emergency.
Risk Factors and Heart Health
Heart disease is the
No. 1 killer of Americans, taking more than 600,000 lives every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sometimes, family history and other health problems can play a role in heart disease, targeting even people who eat right and work out regularly. Remember
Bob Harper, the personal trainer from "The Biggest Loser"?
But in many instances, with lifestyle adjustments, we can control the risk factors.
- A healthy diet can bring down blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and even reverse the progression of diabetes
- Limiting alcohol intake can help keep blood pressure and triglyceride levels in check
- Quitting smoking can help most of your body parts, not the least of which your heart
- Regular physical activity can help curb obesity and improve heart health
Having Life-saving Skills is an Amazing Thing
Even in our health-conscious society, 790,000 Americans
suffer heart attacks and more than 300,000 suffer
sudden cardiac arrest each year, according to the CDC. Both can be fatal, but sudden cardiac arrest can happen with no warning, and survival rate outside of a hospital setting is only 1% to 5%.
The chance of survival increases significantly, however, if the victim can be treated immediately with an
automatic external defibrillator (AED). With about 400 workplace deaths from cardiac arrest reported to OSHA each year, having AEDs in the workplace and employees who know how to use them is a game-changer.
Prepare Today to Save a Life Tomorrow
In addition to heart attacks and cardiac arrest, employees may be confronted with many types of medical emergencies, including:
- Bleeding, burns and other trauma
- Drug overdose
- Allergic reactions
- Diabetic emergencies
- Heat exhaustion
Seconds can mean the difference between life and death, and preparation is key in all of these situations:
One highly useful tool that should be in every employee's back pocket is the
NSC Emergency Medical Response Quick Reference Guide App. Originally designed for First Aid students but 100 percent applicable to the general public, this app provides illustrated summaries of treatment steps for hundreds of illnesses, injuries and emergency medical situations. This invaluable tool is free and puts life-saving techniques at your fingertips.
Bring Safety Home
The National Safety Council collects Hero Stories from people who learned first aid and CPR on the job and used that training to save a life. One such story was from a woman named Aime who, while visiting her mother-in-law over the July 4 holiday last year,
saved her from choking to death.
Thousands of people die from choking each year. The majority of victims are young children, who are often putting small objects in their mouths, and older adults, who tend to choke on food.
If you see a loved one – or a stranger for that matter – choking and unable to speak or breathe, the Heimlich Maneuver is a life-saver. If a victim becomes unresponsive, call 911 and begin CPR. Rescue techniques for children are different than those for adults.
NSC provides more detail on
rescue procedures for children and adults here.