In 2021, 50,027 people died from heart disease in Florida. Similar numbers have been documented by the AHA as well, as shown in this fact sheet from 2017 when a total of 22.8% of deaths were heart-related.
An untreated cardiovascular disease of any kind can have dire consequences for the victim and, in many cases, lead to cardiac arrest. When the situation worsens, CPR as a life-saving technique can greatly impact the victim’s chances of survival.
CPR is crucial in saving lives, especially in busy cities like Tampa. However, despite its importance, many people fear performing CPR. The hesitancy comes from the lack of knowledge or the fear that they will cause harm to the victim.
In this text, we’ll discuss how CPR education and awareness can help you on your journey from fear to confidence.
Fear of Performing CPR
The reality is that more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur annually in the US outside the hospital. This fact shows us that we need to be prepared to help our citizens in critical situations. The only obstacle in the way is the fear some people have to perform CPR. To overcome the fear and other psychological barriers, we need to show the positives of CPR education.
To bring attention to the importance of CPR certification for communities, the city of Tampa regularly runs campaigns to increase awareness of safety and security.
One of their most popular events for raising CPR awareness is the Tampa Bay Heart Walk, organized by the American Heart Association. The event happens once a year and is dedicated to motivating people to get CPR certified, encouraging Tampa citizens to help in critical situations, and donating funds to the organization.
Before we discuss how to overcome the fear, let’s take a look at the top reasons why some people are scared to perform CPR:
Fear of Causing Harm
Fear of causing harm is one of the most common reasons people refrain from performing CPR. Bystanders are scared that they will cause damage to the victim like breaking their ribs or some other injury.
In general, people performing CPR worry that they will use excessive force during the compressions and make the situation worse. This can be easily learned with proper education, and bystanders can perform CPR at their best.
Fear of Legal Liability
Some people fear that they might face legal liability if something goes wrong while performing CPR. However, according to the Good Samaritan Laws, if the bystander causes an injury to the victim, they won’t be held responsible unless they intend to cause pain (gross negligence).
This is the reason why CPR education should be promoted more—the citizens will be aware of regulations like the Good Samaritan Laws that serve to protect them and encourage them to help.
Witnessing someone in SCA can be stressful, and having to perform CPR right away can cause an even bigger panic, including feelings of anxiety, stress, or even trauma. Panic and stress can sometimes lead to inefficient CPR and even put the victim’s chances of survival at risk.
Lack of Confidence
A lack of confidence can come as a result of a lack of proper training or poor CPR education. Similar to the points above, people are scared that they won’t administer CPR properly and unintentionally hurt the victim.
Individuals who have never witnessed a critical life-threatening situation or never performed CPR may have fear of what to expect in case of emergency. Uncertainty about how to react in critical situations can lead to hesitation and self-doubt.
Fear of Disease Transmission
After the pandemic, the fear of disease transmission during CPR is even higher. Due to this fact, people are hesitant, especially if they need to do mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing.
Thankfully, PPE (personal protective equipment) always comes in handy in such situations and can include gowns, gloves, masks, etc. By having PPE at hand and sticking to hands-on CPR, bystanders can overcome this particular cause of fear.
How to Overcome the Fear
Overcoming the fear of providing CPR with proper education can save lives and create a better system that responds fast and efficiently in a crisis. All Tampa citizens can contribute equally by providing immediate help when having witnessed someone in SCA, directly impacting their chances of survival.
Therefore, in the following section, we will talk about how to overcome your fear of giving CPR:
Educate Yourself – Knowledge Is Empowerment
The most important thing to do in order to overcome the fear of performing CPR is to educate yourself. You can join a CPR training course in Tampa and learn the basics of this life-saving technique—how to prepare the victim, how to do it properly, and how to administer an AED.
The CPR training in Tampa offers personalized training in smaller groups so the lecturers can focus on each participant. In the course, you will learn how to work as an individual or in a group, and how to efficiently communicate in case of emergency.
In general, at CPR training, you can expect to learn:
- First aid basics
- Adult, Child, and Infant CPR techniques
- Automated External Defibrillator (AED) use
- Choking rescue techniques
- Hands-on practice and scenario-based training
- Teamwork and communication
- Legal and ethical considerations.
It’s important to note that you won’t learn all of the above by signing up for one course. Each course is specific for different CPR methods.
Practice and repetition are key to building a CPR routine and confidence to react fast in critical situations. CPR training centers in Tampa also offer practical exercises on manikins based on real-life scenarios to improve your life-saving skills. This practice can significantly reduce the fear of performing CPR when the moment comes.
Prioritize Immediate Action
Some bystanders postpone the process of CPR because they feel stressed or anxious. The emotional barriers directly affect the fast response from the bystander. Because every second counts, the victim experiencing SCA should get CPR as fast as the bystander can deliver it.
Until the medical professionals arrive, hands-only CPR can maintain regular blood circulation and increase the chances of survival. The immediate response is essential in critical situations, so no matter how hard it sounds, start CPR immediately!
Stay Updated With Latest Info
Even if you’ve successfully completed your CPR training, always try to educate yourself more on the topic and learn new things. Stay updated with the newest research studies and practices crucial when saving lives.
After taking CPR classes in Tampa, you can stay up to date with your education and skills with free refreshers from the Red Cross. These materials include interactive games and quizzes, videos, and learning activities. According to the Red Cross, to retain your skills, you should complete the refreshers every three months during the certification period.
The AHA always has the latest guidelines on CPR practices, which you can access here.
AEDs Can Give Bystanders the Confidence to Help
AEDs should be placed in key spots all over Tampa so bystanders can immediately grab one in an emergency. It’s been proven that AEDs boost confidence since the majority of defibrillators in public spaces are designed to provide step-by-step life-saving instructions. This means that even if you don’t have proper training, you’ll still be able to provide help.
From Fear to Confidence: Overcoming CPR Apprehension in Tampa: Conclusion
Performing CPR is not an easy task, but certainly not the hardest thing to learn. With proper education, you can overcome the most common fears of performing CPR and be an active member of society by saving victims’ lives.
CPR training is key in preparing people to respond fast in critical situations, as well as preparing them mentally to handle the crisis without stressing out and staying calm.
Thankfully, there are ways to combat your fears when it comes to giving first aid. The number-one step is to educate yourself on CPR and AED practices and how effective they are in boosting survival rates. Another thing is to get regular practice so that your confidence will replace your fear when the moment comes. Finally, stay up to date with any news regarding CPR practices in Tampa.
The journey from fear to confidence may not be easy, but it’s all part of the learning process!