Bob Trenkamp's blog

Bob Trenkamp's blog

What you need to do when you are not on the ambulance or in the hospital

OK, Teammates. Here's how it all sorts out:

First, if you see a person have a cardiac arrest and you are in an ambulance or in the Emergency Department, you already know what you need to do.

BUT, if you are in a situation where when you see someone arrest, you need to call for an ambulance - and I don't care whether you are a doctor, a nurse, a paramedic, or an EMT - the odds of your being able to perform Guideline-Compliant Chest Compressions ("GC3's") from the time of the arrest until the ambulance crew is "hands on" at the victim are slim-to-none.

First of all, we have studied chest compression stamina and chest compression depth, and I can assure you that you are an exception, if you are able to perform GC3's until the ambulance crew takes over, when you are using what we teach in a normal CPR class.

A different way of thinking about CPR

The American Heart Association teaches two types of CPR. For healthcare professionals, the BLS (Basic Life Support) class is required. For Bystanders, continuous chest compressions are taught for adults.

Understandably, a natural split has evolved along the lines of professional credentials: if you hold professional medical credentials, you perform BLS skills. If you do not, you perform what is taught in the bystander courses. But this may not be best for the victim.

A different way of deciding what to do when you witness an adult arrest is to ask yourself, "Am I going to have to call 911?" because if you are, then (1) you are not in a hospital or on an ambulance, and (2) you probably aren't going to be able to perform Guideline-Compliant Chest Compressions ("GC3's") from the time of the arrest until the "hands-on" arrival of the ambulance crew.

It's nice not being needed!

I also serve as a Medical First Responder in the community where I live.

Last week I was toned out to respond to a local church where a person had passed out.

By the time I got there, two people in attendance at the church had determined non-responsiveness, called 911, determined non-normal breathing, begun CPR, retrieved the AED, applied it, and had a living, breathing Cardiac Arrest Survivor on their hands. The victim was transported and now has a pacemaker.

That, my friends, is how we solve the problem of too many dying form SCA's: Available AEDs and people who know how to recognize a Sudden Cardiac Arrest when it happens and what to do!

It's nice not being needed!


It works.

PA Harrier survives heart scare because of a little luck... and her school was prepared!
By Stephen Mazzone / September 24, 2012 12:00 PM


Phil Genther has been coaching track and cross country for 36 years, including 18 at his current post directing the girls’ programs at Villa Maria Academy, a tiny catholic school in Malvern, Pennsylvania. During his nearly 40-year career, Genther has seen his share of athletes suffer injuries and other unfortunate occurrences that are associated with running.

At the last two PIAA Cross-Country Championships, he witnessed a pair of athletes get hit by deer while out on the trails.

But there is nothing that compares to what the 60-year-old coach had to experience back on Sept. 13 with one of his top varsity runners. It’s something that very few coaches have ever had to witness during their tenures.

This doesn't always have a happy ending - bravo to the coach!

Soccer coach saves Amityville student
September 18, 2013
Coach and educator Isha Hamilton says she used her CPR training for the first time in her 11-year career at Edmund W. Miles Middle School in Amityville to save a student just 48 hours ago.! for video.

Way to go, coach!

I'm here to tell you I don't want you to learn CPR...

No, I'd rather that the people you are near most often learn CPR.

Of course, then you'll have to return the favor for their safety, but the point is that your safety doesn't depend upon your knowledge of CPR - itt depends upon the knowledge of those most likely to witness your cardiac arrest.



Man's children perform life-saving CPR after he goes into cardiac arrest

Posted on September 9, 2013 at 7:54 PM
Updated yesterday at 10:24 PM

KINGSTON, Wash. – Monday night North Kitsap Fire and Rescue honored the siblings who performed CPR, and helped save their father's life after he went into cardiac arrest in late April.

It happened on a Sunday afternoon. Mark Potter, 53, had been mowing the lawn. His 14-year-old daughter, Kyleigh, came around a corner to find her father unconscious and not breathing in a chair in the yard. Kyleigh screamed for help, prompting several 911 calls. Mark’s wife, Suzie, and a family friend lowered him to the ground while his 20-year-old stepson, Zach, joined Kyleigh by his side.

Together Zach and Kyleigh performed life-saving CPR until paramedics arrived. Mark walked out of the hospital ten days later, and is doing great today.
"I am sure without a doubt they saved my life," said Mark.

CPR details

Please go to and fill in the requested information. We need to understand the limits of chest compression capacity in more detail before we set about fixing the problem.

Every five years, ILCOR & AHA issue their updated CPR Guidelines. In 2005, the guidelines called for two rescue breaths, followed by cycles of thirty compressions & two rescue breaths. The compressions had to be between 1.5 and 2.0 inches deep (~38 mm to 50 mm) and delivered at a rate of 100 per minute.

When those guidelines were put in place, it was as if someone had dropped a boulder into a pond: Instructors had to demonstrate that they could perform five cycles of "30 & 2" about every two minutes. a large number of CPR instructors were unable to renew their Instructor certificates.

Some Metro Station Defibrillators Aren't In Their Public Boxes - This hurts

See the end of this post for the author's ID and contact info.

Photo by Twitter user SCG703.

All Metro stations are supposed to be equipped with automated external defibrillators, lifesaving devices that can shock a person's heart back into a normal rhythm. But as one advocacy group recently pointed out, some aren't in the public boxes marked "Emergency Defibrillator."

A great blog post by Sabrina Wilber of the Metropolitan Transit Advocacy Group, a recently launched group focused on Metro rider safety and representation started in part by Chris Barnes of Fix WMATA, first raised the issue.'

Helping Bystanders Perform CPR Until EMS Is "Hands-On"

SLICC has officially begun promoting an alternative CPR technique for those who are - for one of a variety of reasons cannot perform guideline-compliant manual chest compressions.


Here's the announcement letter that just went out:

Thank you all very much for your comments and suggestions - and encouragement. The announcement video has been modified and can be viewed at
The video shows someone treating a sudden cardiac death in a 40+ year old and highlights the dismal probability that a lone rescuer will be able to perform Guideline-Compliant Chest Compressions ("GC3's") from the time of the arrest until the "hands-on" arrival of the EMS crew.

SLICC's video recommends that Bystanders "perform manual compressions unless:

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