Life Saving Skills

Do you know what to do if somebody stops breathing?  Can you recognise the signs of a stroke? 

Take a few minutes out of your life to learn these skills and you could save a life one day.

Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

CPR is a way of keeping someone who has had a cardiac arrest alive until emergency services arrive. It is important that everyone knows how to perform CPR. 
First Aid courses include CPR training as one of the skills and local hospitals sometimes run CPR courses. Find out today how to perform this vital function and you may save a life one day.

People who have suffered cardiac arrest and received CPR within minutes have a 2 to 3 times better survival rate as well as reduced long term damage.

Automated External Defibrillators (AED’s)

An AED machine or defibrillator is used to give the heart an electric shock when there is cardiac arrest or atrial fibrillation.

During cardiac arrest, the heart stops pumping blood around the body and the patient will die if not treated within minutes.

For every minute that passes without defibrillation chances of survival decrease by 14 per cent. Research shows that applying a controlled shock within five minutes of collapse gives the best chance of survival.

In South Africa, AED machines can generally only be found in hospitals or in ambulances/paramedic vehicles.

Putting defibrillators in the right places

If defibrillators (and people trained to use them) were standard equipment in schools, shopping centres, places of work, sports clubs, clinics and other high density areas, lives could be saved. 

Recognise a stroke

A stroke occurs when there is a blockage in an artery which prevents blood reaching your brain or if a blood vessel in the brain bursts. 
The affected part of the brain is deprived of oxygen and nutrients as there is no blood flowing to the area. This can result in the brain tissue becoming damaged or even dying.

Recognising the symptoms of a stroke can save a life and drastically reduce damage to the brain. If you suspect that somebody is having a stroke, perform this simple test.

1. Ask the person to say something to you like their name and address or a simple sentence. Check for slurring of words.
2. Ask the person to close their eyes and raise both their arms over their head. If one arm cannot lift as high as the other, this is a sign of weakness on one side of the body and can indicate that a stroke has occurred.
3. Ask the person to smile. Check for any drooping on either side.

If any of these symptoms are present, call an ambulance or rush the person to hospital immediately. With a stroke, every second counts. 


My father suffered multiple heart attacks…I Think Red for my father.

Gerry Rantseli-Elsdon
Feb 2012