Fear can be devastating. It can dominate our thoughts, lead us to bad decisions and affect our ability to maintain strong, healthy relationships with others. Perhaps even worse, fear may prevent us from helping others in life-threatening situations.
To better understand the impact of fear and its role in emergencies, let’s first consider the following statistics from the American Heart Association (AHA):
- Almost 383,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrest incidents occur annually in the United States.
- Only 32 percent of cardiac arrest victims actually will receive bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
- Effective bystander CPR that is administered immediately after an individual suffers sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) may double or triple this person’s chances of survival.
Clearly, cardiac arrests are problematic, and bystanders can deliver immense support in an SCA emergency if they understand how to administer CPR confidently and effectively. But as the aforementioned data indicates, many bystanders fail to act in SCA emergencies, perhaps due to ongoing fears. As such, the failure to act in an SCA emergency may lead to unnecessary deaths.
How Can You Overcome Fear in an Emergency?
Ultimately, your decision to face your fears – or fail to face them – could be the difference between life and death for an SCA victim.
If you possess comprehensive CPR training, you are more likely to feel prepared to administer CPR in any situation, at any time. Therefore, if an SCA emergency arises, you’ll be ready to respond accordingly and do everything possible to help prevent the loss of life.
Furthermore, accepting your fears may serve as a great first step to overcome them altogether.
In many cases, ignoring fears won’t allow them to disappear. Conversely, ignorance breeds fear and may cause your fears to worsen over an extended period of time.
To address your fears effectively, ask yourself questions about your fears so you can better understand these problems. Consider the consequences of your fears as well, as this will enable you to understand the ramifications if you choose to continue to ignore your fears.
Lastly, visualize yourself handling a situation in which your fears come to fruition. This eventually could give you the power to overcome your fears and transform a personal weakness into a tremendous strength. It may even make it easier to overcome other fears in the future, too.
Don’t Let Your CPR Fears Get the Best of You
We know that many people are scared to perform CPR. It makes you nervous and even grosses you out a little. But the biggest fear? You’re afraid that you will do it wrong.
Let us let you in on a little secret. That is completely normal. After teaching hundreds of CPR classes, we can tell you that you are not alone.
“What if I mess up?”
“What if I freeze?”
“What if I forget?”
These “What Ifs” have a way of burrowing themselves into the back of your mind. They are about as easy to get rid of as a bad case of the hiccups. However, unlike the hiccups, holding your breath won’t cure your fear of CPR. But maybe we can help.
Here Are a Few Tips That Could Make a Difference
1.) Consider the short- and long-term impact of your actions. For every minute that someone is unconscious without CPR, his or her chances of survival drop 10 percentage points. Meanwhile, the average fire department response time 5 minutes. What does that mean? Your action could definitely be the difference between life and death. And you most likely won’t have to perform CPR for longer than 5 minutes before help arrives.
2.) Come up with a plan now. What are you going to do if someone goes unconscious in front of you? If the person is a stranger, will you still perform CPR? Having a plan will lessen your anxiety.
3.) Buy a CPR mask. I especially like the CPR masks that fit onto your keychain. This way, you are protected for the worst case scenario.
Don’t worry, you’ll be surprised how quickly your training will come back! Still concerned? Come visit us at one of our Orange County CPR locations and take a refresher course!