Canadians not confident in their abilities to help someone suffering from cardiac arrest, new poll suggests

OTTAWA, Nov. 5, 2012 /CNW/ - According to recent polling by the Canadian Red Cross, the majority of Canadians say they would recognize the signs if someone were experiencing a cardiac emergency, but fewer than half say they would be able to do something to help. November is CPR month, an annual campaign to promote the importance of CPR as a lifesaving skill. The Canadian Red Cross urges Canadians to take a course, and know what to do in an emergency.

"In half a day you can learn the skills necessary to save a life," says Don Marentette, national manager of first aid programs with the Canadian Red Cross. "Only 15 per cent of Canadians say they are confident they can help someone suffering from a cardiac emergency, and that's just not enough.

Approximately one in ten deaths in Canada directly results from a heart attack. In large urban centres, the average ambulance response time is more than eight minutes, but permanent brain damage is likely to occur within four to six minutes after a person stops breathing.

"Knowing what to do in those critical minutes can save a life," adds Marentette. "CPR, when used with an automated external defibrillator (AED), and started immediately after cardiac arrest, can double a person's chance of surviving a heart attack."

A Red Cross CPR course teaches important life-saving skills, including how to recognize signs of breathing and circulation emergencies, how to call for help, perform CPR, and how to use an AED. The Red Cross is the only national training agency to include AED training as a mandatory component.

The Canadian Red Cross is a leading provider of first aid and CPR programs and has been offering first aid and CPR training to Canadians for over 50 years. For more information or to find a course near you, visit www.redcross.ca/firstaid.

SOURCE: CANADIAN RED CROSS

For further information:

Canadian Red Cross Media Line
(613) 740-1994