Posted by Bob Trenkamp on 04/01/2012

Reflect for a moment that the lowest save rate for cardiac arrest victims is on a farm and the highest is at the Phoenix, AZ airport. It's not that farms are unhealthy and airports are not. Just look to the AHA chain of survival the CARES project, the Denmark study, and the Phoenix results for the answer.

The best chance of surviving comes when someone sees you go down, determines that you're non-responsive and not breathing, calls 911, immediately begins chest compressions, defibrillates within 2-3 minutes, and get picked up by the ambulance within a few more.

Thus, to improve your chances of surviving an out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest, someone else in your house has to know CPR and has to be there. But to really ring the bell, there has to be an AED in the home. This is taught by the Phoenix Airport's stunning "save with major brain function intact" average rate of 75%.

Before we get to the punch line, permit me to point out that your personal decision to get or to get current in your CPR training is not a matter that affects your survival chances - it affects the survival chances of those around you. Thus, it's your spouse whose opinion should weigh heaviest in the 'get trained or not' decision. If you decide to not get trained, you are playing Russian Roulette, but with the revolver pointed at someone else's head - most likely your spouse, family, or friends.

So here's the punch line: you really need to consider getting or refreshing your CPR training and purchasing an AED. Why purchase an AED? Because the ambulance / first responders / etc. can not get to your home within two minutes of the arrest, even if you live down the street from the ambulance station.

Free CPR, AED, & stroke recognition training is available in Chatham County, GA. See The average, fit person cannot perform adequate chest compressions for more than 2-3 minutes. SLICC can show you how to perform adequate chest compressions for ten minutes or more.

If you do not live in Chatham County, GA, contact about starting a similar organization where you live.