Expert Advice On Responding To A Heart Attack - WSPA.com

Expert Advice On Responding To A Heart Attack

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Jennifer Smith, Chest Pain Center Coordinator for Spartanburg Regional, says one of the most important things you can do is call 911 as soon as possible. Jennifer Smith, Chest Pain Center Coordinator for Spartanburg Regional, says one of the most important things you can do is call 911 as soon as possible.

Do you know how to help if someone is having a heart-attack? Every few months, Spartanburg Regional Medical Center works with schools and businesses to make sure they do.

Wednesday, they invited 7 On Your Side along, to show you what you need to know - when every second counts.

With the help of the Chick-fil-A on East Main Street in Spartanburg, they set up a mock drill – for employees to respond to someone having a heart attack.

Jennifer Smith, Chest Pain Center Coordinator for Spartanburg Regional, says one of the most important things you can do is call 911 as soon as possible.

"You always want to call, so somebody's coming to help you," Smith explained. "Anything that we can do to help decrease that time to get that patient on the cath lab table, and have that heart artery open, is beneficial for the patient."

Smith says – do not ask someone to drive you – wait for EMS to arrive. Also – when you call 911, know your address. If not, be ready to name nearby landmarks.

If the person needs CPR, the 911 operator will walk you through it. It's a good idea to have someone wave down the ambulance in the parking lot. Smith tells 7 On Your Side, the quicker they find you – the better.

Donnie Bishop, Cath Lab Manager, played the patient in the drill Wednesday. He explains that a heart attack situation is not as dramatic as you would think. It's not like the movies, where people clutch their chest.

"Everybody wants to play off the pain," explained Bishop. "It's indigestion, or it's going to go away or whatever."

During the drill, a Chik-fil-A employee called 911, EMS arrived, and they transported Bishop to the hospital.

Even the paramedics and hospital workers had to be on their toes.

"We didn't announce that we were having a drill," Bishop said, "so the staff didn't know it was a drill. That way, they act just like they would any other time."

Zach Hubbard, a paramedic says the biggest mistake you can make is putting off that crucial 911 call.

"The sooner you activate 911, the sooner we get there, the sooner we can get our interventions going, and improve your outcome," Hubbard explained.

So do these drills in schools and businesses work? Smith pointed to an example this past year, when a student used the skills they learned to spring into action.

"The parent was choking. The child knew how to do the Heimlich maneuver and actually save their mother's life in the car line at school," remembered Smith.

Chris Poteat, one of the managers at the Chick-fil-A that participated in the drill Wednesday, says they like to train their employees to be ready in an emergency.

"We do this to kind of make sure our team members know what's going on, especially our managers, because it could happen at any point in time," Poteat explained.

Some of the common warnings signs of a heart attack include discomfort in your chest or in other areas of your upper body, shortness of breath, and look for other signs - like a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.

If you think you're having a heart attack, call 911 immediately.

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