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A Heartbeat CPR Training Beeper

During mid-2006, Australian emergency health care providers and first aid bodies largely fell into line with the Australian Resuscitation Council guidelines for the delivery method and timing of cardio-pulmonary resuscitation - or CPR. Here's a low-cost trainer which provides audible beats to get the timing right.

By Jim Rowe and Ross Tester

For many years, CPR in Australia has been taught differently by different organisations. Apart from the obvious drawbacks of two differently-trained first-aiders trying to work together to resuscitate a patient, every organisation maintained their method was better than their "competitors".

Now that’s all changed, with Australian first aid organisations – Surf Lifesaving, Red Cross, Royal Lifesaving, St Johns and so on – agreeing with the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation Guidelines, with the training/accreditation/certification changing so that no matter who taught you, you would work the same as anyone else.

Click for larger image
The SILICON CHIP HeartBeat CPR Trainer is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand but delivers the timing necessary for correct CPR.

It has also been very much simplified, in the hope that many more people will learn CPR and be able to deliver it in an emergency.

A staggering fact is that, even today, less than 10% of sudden cardiac arrest victims (ie, heart attack) who are unconscious and not breathing are given CPR – in other words, 90%+ are not given any lifesaving treatment – because no-one knew what to do!

While it is true that some, perhaps many, of those victims would not have survived anyway, isn’t it better to know that you have at least tried to assist instead of helplessly standing by?

A wise old first-aid instructor once told me that badly-done CPR was infinitely better than perfect watching.

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