The chain of survival refers to the system as a whole in response to any cardiovascular emergency. The chain is only as strong as its weakest link and the best way to give a casualty the best chance of surviving an emergency is by following 5 steps: Early recognition, early access, early CPR, early defibrillation and early advanced care.
Early recognition is the first link of the chain. Simply without proper identification of any cardiovascular emergency then the person has no chance to survive. So it becomes crucial to identify early so you can initiate the chain of survival. When the person is still conscious they hopefully will show signs of distress either through verbal or nonverbal actions. Taking a CPR course will only strengthen your knowledge to fully recognize a problem. Don’t be overly analytical either you are not to diagnose a problem. Recognize that there is an emergency and call 911.
Early access is the second link of the chain of survival. By calling 911 as early as you feel there is an emergency the better the chance the person has to survive the cardiovascular emergency. An unconscious person that is not breathing has 4 minutes until the circulating oxygen has been depleted. It takes only 30 seconds to call 911 and if there are other people around you can designate someone else to call. As soon as dispatch has noted your emergency then the appropriate ambulance would be sent as they are talking to you so please stay on the phone. If you are by your self then put it on speaker phone but do not hang up.
Early CPR is pretty self explanatory. Assess your casualty and follow the A B C D’s. A is for Airway make sure the airway is open and B the person is Breathing. C is for circulation check the pulse of the carotid artery closest to you check for a heart beat. D is for defibrillation, with the onset of AED’s showing great promise for early recovering. Learning to use an AED has never been easier, it is as simple as A B C.
Early defibrillation refers to the use of AED’s and EMS personal arriving on the scene. The sooner the person gets the shock then the better the chance of surviving.
Early advanced care either in hospital or waiting for ambulance personnel. Trained professionals are especially adept at treating any cardiovascular emergencies. In order to properly treat the person the person has to be in their care, so the sooner that happens the better the chance the person.
The casualty has about an hour to get to the hospital after going unconscious. This is known as the golden hour there is an 80% survival rate if the person gets to the advanced care in this time frame either by EMS personnel or at the hospital.