I know that many of you heard that Michael Clarke Duncan, probably best known for his role as John Coffe, in "The Green Mile," suffered a heart attack in his home last week. If you did hear than you know that his girlfriend, Omarosa was credited with saving his life by administering CPR until the paramedics arrived. TMZ broke the story first and because he lived and is recovering well, the story didn’t stay in the headlines long. But it made me start to think, how many of us would have been able to save our man, woman, child or loved one in the same way.

Basic lifesaving skills are not something that we think about on the daily basis, but in an emergency situation, they are truly what makes the difference in life and death. Many of us, hell, most of us are not prepared to administer lifesaving procedures in the case of an emergency. The American Heart Association reports that only 32% of sudden cardiac arrests get CPR because most bystanders (usually family) do not have training. On the flip side, 92,000 people a year are saved because of bystanders who ARE prepared.

With many cities cutting costs, resources, and staff, even the best EMS teams are overworked. And in cities where the system is broken, it is sometimes better to call a cab than an ambulance. For this reason alone we have got to be diligent about getting our families trained with basic lifesaving techniques and even talking about what to do in the face of an emergency. Remember the corny TV sitcoms when the stereotypical TV dad would have the clip board and piss off the family doing adhoc fire drills? Well, ask the families of the over 2,600 people that died in home fires if they wish they could have been so corny.

A website called wisebread.com had a great piece on the 10 lifesaving skills you should know. Take a look at it if you can, but I want you to focus on five of them.

1. CPR / Using an AED – Both cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the proper use of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), which are now in schools, malls, and most other public facilities, are the bridge from a heart attack to professional emergency attention.

2. The Heimlich Maneuver – Technique used to dislodge foreign objects preventing breathing. Special training for kids is essential.

3. Controlling Bleeding – Learning the proper way to apply pressure and seek additional medical attention.

4. Providing Aspirin for Heart Attacks and Strokes – increases blood flow and reduces clots. You must know if the person is taking other medications.

5. Exit a Burning Building – Have a plan to evacuate EVERY building. Train your family on what to do.

These small actions can make a huge difference. When I read the story about Mike and Omarosa, it was not just about a star and her boyfriend. They are friends of mine, real people. I know you have some real people in your lives too. Let’s make sure we are empowered with every piece of information that keeps them protected in any situation

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