Why should you learn CPR?

Learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with Saint-Bernard Academy: A life-saving choice


Every second counts - The significance of CPR

The reality is striking: around eight out of ten cardiac arrests occur outside hospital confines (AHA, n.d.). These heartbreaking events do not choose their location, and can occur in the home or in a public place. At such times, prompt response by a first responder is vital. The faster CPR is initiated, the greater the chance of survival. However, what's even more alarming is that, in the case of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, CPR is performed by a first responder in only about 40% of cases (AHA, n.d.). Unfortunately, the vast majority of people don't intervene in cardiac emergencies because of a lack of skill, a fear of not doing the right thing, or of facing legal repercussions if they accidentally injure the victim. This means that all too often, precious seconds pass without vital intervention.

In short, in this article we'll explain exactly what CPR is for, and what impact it can have on a victim's survival. Finally, we'll present a few reasons why you should learn CPR and renew your training regularly.


The meaning of CPR

CPR is a crucial act that can mean the difference between life and death. It involves manually compressing the heart muscle to restore blood flow to a person suffering from cardiac arrest. This allows blood to circulate to vital organs such as the heart, brain and lungs, keeping the person alive until medical help arrives. Of course, the first step is always to contact the emergency services (9-1-1) as soon as possible.


A major impact on survival rates

According to a study by the American Heart Association (AHA), bystander CPR can double or even triple a victim's chances of survival (AHA, 2005). Having the self-confidence to intervene without hesitation when faced with a victim in cardiac arrest can mean the difference between life and death. Learning CPR and updating your skills regularly will give you the ability to identify this type of emergency, know what to do and act without hesitation. In other words, many lives could be saved if more people were trained in CPR.

Moreover, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the quality of life of victims who survived cardiac arrest was significantly improved when first responders administered CPR before help arrived. 30 days after the incident, around 81% of survivors maintained good brain function (Hasselqvist-Ax & coll., 2015). In other words, by restoring blood flow, the rescuer reduces the risk of serious cellular damage, underlining the crucial importance of CPR.


By learning CPR, you can help build a safer future by…


Keeping you and your loved ones safe.

Learning CPR is not only a useful skill for helping others in an emergency, it's also a valuable asset for yourself and your loved ones. You could be the person who makes the difference in a moment of crisis, saving the life of a loved one or even your own. As potential first responders, your CPR awareness can truly save lives and improve the quality of life for those who desperately need it. 


Knowing how to use a defibrillator.

Although you don't need to be trained to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), training provides the knowledge you need to use it quickly and effectively. This is an essential skill, since according to a study published in the journal Circulation, the chances of survival after cardiac arrest are twice as high when a bystander intervenes with an AED before emergency medical services arrive (J. S. Bækgaard & coll. 2017).


Acting without hesitation.

There are many reasons why a person witnessing a cardiac arrest may hesitate: disorientation, fear of making a mistake, fear of causing further injury, etc. Training helps you acquire the skills you need to identify the victim's condition, to know the procedure to follow, and to act without hesitation. It's worth noting, however, that according to the Good Samaritan Law, if the person intervening acts with the sole aim of rendering assistance, he or she cannot be held responsible for any damage his or her intervention may cause (Éducaloi. n.d.). What's more, certain injuries, such as breaking or fracturing ribs when chest compressions are deep enough, are very common. Of course, being trained greatly increases the chances of a successful intervention.


Staying calm.

An emergency situation can be chaotic and frightening, especially if lives are at stake. It can be difficult to figure out what to do and where to start, without giving in to panic. While this stress is normal, being trained in CPR and updating your knowledge regularly can go a long way in keeping you calm. By having the necessary knowledge to intervene in a crisis, the trained responder will be better able to handle the situation with composure to provide the necessary help to the victim. In addition, it also helps to inform the emergency dispatcher about the victim's condition in a consistent and effective manner. 

In other words, by devoting a few hours of your time to learning CPR, you can give many victims a better chance of survival. Don't wait, learn at your own pace today with our 100% online, self-paced training courses!


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Sources :

American Heart Association. S.d. « CPR Facts & Stats ». URL : https://cpr.heart.org/en/resources/cpr-facts-and-stats

American Heart Association. 2005. « Part 4: Adult Basic Life Support ». Circulation. Vol. 112, no. 24, suppl., IV-19 à IV-34. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.105.166553

Éducaloi. s.d. « Helping Someone in Danger: Good Samaritan Laws ». URL : https://educaloi.qc.ca/en/capsules/helping-someone-in-danger-good-samaritan-laws/

Hasselqvist-Ax, I. & coll. 2015. « Early Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest ». New England Journal of Medicine. Vol. 372, no. 24, 2307 à 2315. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1405796

Josefine S. Bækgaard & al. 2017. « The Effects of Public Access Defibrillation on Survival After Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest ». Circulation. Vol. 136, no. 10, 954-965. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.029067


Key words :

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

Saint-Bernard Academy


Cardiac arrest

First responder

Chance of survival

Out-of-hospital cardiac arrests

Cardiac emergencies

Learning CPR

Emergency services (9-1-1)

Bystander CPR

Trained in CPR

New England Journal of Medicine

Automated External Defibrillator (AED)

Good Samaritan Law

Chest compressions

Emergency dispatcher