What to do if you see someone collapse

CHARLOTTE — Would you know what to do if you saw someone collapse? Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke met with Medic Assistant Operations Manager Matt Lewis who walked him through lifesaving steps to know in case a loved one or stranger goes into cardiac arrest.

Lewis says the first thing to do is to check to see if the person is breathing.

“You want to tap him to see if they’re awake. … If they’re not responding to you, you want to check for breathing. So, you want to look, listen, and feel,” Lewis said.

If the person is not breathing, call 911 and have someone look for an automated external defibrillator (AED) and start CPR.

“You’re going to take the heel of your hand, put it right in the center of their breast bone, put the other hand on top of that hand and press down hard, at least two inches deep,” he demonstrated to Stoogenke.

Lewis said to do that at least twice per second. He said you do not need a formal class to do it and that a dispatcher can coach you over the phone.

If you can find an AED, it will talk you through it as well. You do not need to watch a video or start trying to figure out instructions; the machine walks you through the steps out loud.

“Nobody should be afraid to use an AED machine. The machine will not hurt a patient if it doesn’t need the shock. It will only shock when it absolutely has to,” Lewis said.

Time matters. Once someone goes into cardiac arrest, every minute that person stays that way, they are 10% less likely to survive.

On the other hand, if you start CPR and then use the AED until paramedics arrive, Medic says they restart the heart more than 75% of the time in Mecklenburg County, which is well above the national average.

State law requires that AEDs be registered.

There’s also an app called PulsePoint AED. If you call 911, the dispatcher can see where the closest AED is for you.

In addition, if you know CPR, there’s an app you can sign up on and dispatchers can alert you if someone nearby needs your help.

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