CPR Basics – Why Should I Use a Barrier Device?

Basic life support certification courses, such as first aid classes or CPR classes, can help teach you how to help someone in need in the event of a medical emergency. Knowing what to do in an emergency situation can save a life as well as increase the recovery times for the victim. There are tools that you can keep in your medical bag so that you will always be prepared as a first responder. A barrier device is one of those tools that you should have for performing CPR. A barrier device is a form of PPE, or personal protective equipment that can protect you from exposure to bacteria and disease that could cause infection. There are two different types of barrier devices that are used in CPR.  There are flat plastic shields that are vented and fit over the victim’s mouth. This gives you the opportunity to administer a breath without actually touching the skin of another person. The other type of barrier device is a mask that fits over the victim’s face and a breath is administered through a ventilation-like tube.  These types of masks are usually reserved for medical professionals only. The plastic mouth shields can be found easily online for purchase by the general public.

When you are going through Adult or child CPR training or any other CPR classes, the recommendation is the use of a barrier device or shield when performing CPR. A barrier device makes administering CPR safer for the first responder.  A barrier device is a safe choice because it reduces your risk of infection. It also protects the victim from getting any communicable diseases from their rescuer as well.  Most first responders do not know their victim personally, so using a barrier device also makes it less personal and less awkward. When you call 911, if you are not skilled in CPR training, the operator would be able to walk you through the steps to perform CPR correctly. The emergency operator will not care if you have barrier device on you or not. If your victim has stopped breathing, they must receive CPR to save their life.  Keeping a barrier device or shield in your first responder bags always ensures that you have the proper tools to help someone at a moment’s notice. If you need to perform CPR on a loved one or family member, the use of a barrier device is less important because you know that person.  Barrier devices help protect you from exposure to viruses and bacteria when performing CPR. Although it is recommended that you use a barrier device for performing CPR, a barrier device is not necessary to perform CPR successfully. Each situation will be unique and knowing how to perform CPR correctly helps save lives. 

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