Sea Sick: Don’t wait for emergency to realize CPR skills rusty

Oct 27, 2019 by Keith Murray

Sea Sick: by Keith Murray

The holiday season is fast approaching, which for many of us means tourist season is also fast approaching.  Where I live in Jupiter, Florida, it seems that our population doubles during season when the snowbirds return from their homes up north.

With the large number of older people arriving comes a large number of medical emergencies. Most are slip and falls, broken hips, heart attacks and strokes.  But sudden cardiac arrests also rise. This is where knowing how to perform CPR and how to use an AED often make the difference between life and death.

I know what you are thinking as you read this. You took a CPR class a while ago and think your skills are pretty good. So, let’s test your skills with the following test and see how good you do. 

Questions: (scroll down to see the answers)

  • What does CPR stand for?
  • What does AED stand for?
  • Rank Sudden Cardiac Arrest deaths in the U.S. from 1 to 10. 
  • When performing CPR on a 75 year old woman who is not breathing you hear ribs break, should you stop?
  • During CPR, the victim vomits. Does this mean they are alive and you should stop CPR?
  • How fast should your compressions be when performing CPR (compressions per minute)?
  • According to OSHA what percentage of workplace fatalities were due to sudden cardiac arrest?   
  • What is the proper depth of compressions when performing CPR on an adult?
  • You mistakenly connect someone to an AED that is alive and breathing and push the shock button. Will the AED injure them?
  • Where is your heart located?
  • What song is it that both the American Heart Association and British Heart Association suggest using when performing CPR because its beat is the proper speed for compressions?
  • Which of the following songs would also work, and are the same 100-120 beats per minute? (Another One Bites the Dust by Queen; I Walk The Line by Johnny Cash; Crazy in Love by Beyonce; Baby Shark, a popular children’s song.)
  • Can you use an AED on someone that is wet?  
  • Can you use an AED on someone with a hairy chest?  
  • Can you use an AED on someone with a pacemaker?
  • Can you use an AED on someone who is eight months pregnant?
  • Can you use an AED on a 1-year-old child?
  • True or False: In the United States, performing CPR on a person in cardiac arrest often results in a lawsuit.
  • When performing month to mouth, what is the proper number of compressions to breaths?
  • One of your crew is shocked by the shore power cord and still touching the energized cord. Can you perform CPR on them?
  • Could CPR save your life if you are in cardiac arrest?
  • Should CPR be performed on a person who is not breathing and still in bed?
  • Are cardiac arrest and a heart attack the same?


  • CPR = Cardio, Pulmonary Resuscitation
  • AED = Automated External Defibrillator
  • According to OSHA, 61 million Americans have cardiovascular disease, resulting in approximately 1 million deaths per year. One-third of these deaths (300,000-400,000) are due to cardiac arrest, the sudden and unexpected loss of heart function.  Sudden cardiac arrest and other heart related illness is the leading cause of death in the United States and kills more people than breast cancer, lung cancer and AIDS combined.
  • Don’t stop.  Breaking ribs may occur.  If you can save them with CPR and an AED the ribs will heal.
  • No. Vomiting is not a sign of life.  If they vomit, tilt the head, clear the airway and resume compressions if they are not breathing.
  • 100 to 120 compressions per minute.  About 2 per second.
  • 13 percent of workplace fatalities reported to OSHA were due to sudden cardiac arrest.
  • Adults  2 – 2.4 inches, Children 2 inches, Babies 1.5 inches.
  • No. AEDs are designed to only shock people whose hearts have stopped working effectively. AEDs will only shock victims whose hearts need to be shocked to restore a healthy rhythm.
  • The heart is located between the right and left lungs, in the middle of the chest between the imaginary nipple line.
  • The song Staying Alive by the Bee Gees is 100 beats per minute and is the proper speed for compressions.
  • All of the above are correct.  Pick one that you like.
  • Yes, but you must dry the area where the pads go first.
  • Yes, but you must shave the area where the pads go first.
  • Yes. As long as they are not breathing, connect them and follow the voice prompts.
  • Yes. As long as they are not breathing, connect them and follow the voice prompts.
  • Yes. Ideally you will use pediatric pads or a pediatric key to reduce the energy. If you do not have these, then place the adult pads in the center of the child chest and the center of the child’s back and follow the AED voice prompts.
  • False. There are both federal and state “Good Samaritan” laws that protect the rescuer.
  • 30 compressions and 2 breaths. Ideally, you should have a barrier device such as a pocket mask.
  • Always make certain the scene is safe.  In this situation you would need to make certain the power is off before you went near the injured person.
  • CPR buys you time by moving blood, which carries oxygen to the brain, the heart and other parts of the body, but the shock from the AED is what gets the heart beating again.
  • CPR should always be performed on the floor.  You must have a hard surface and you must have your body weight over top for good quality compressions.
  • No. Heart attack is a plumbing problem and occurs when part of the heart’s blood supply is reduced or blocked, causing the heart muscle to become injured or die. Cardiac arrest is an electrical problem and the heart stops beating.

Now, let’s rate your score.

Zero questions wrong: You are a pro. You should have been a doctor.

1-2 questions wrong: Not bad. You still get an “A”

3-4 questions wrong: You get a “B” for this test, but should brush up on your skills.

5 or more questions wrong: You need emergency CPR training. Schedule a class “stat” as your CPR skills need first aid.

Please share this little test with your crew, your friends and your family.  Learning CPR and how to use an AED is a skill that everyone should know as it could save a life.

EMT Keith Murray provides onboard CPR, AED and first-aid training as well as AED sales and service. His company can be found at Comments are welcome below.