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Letter to the editor: Everyone can and should learn CPR, a lifelong skill

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and give thanks. I am thankful for the everyday heroes in our communities across the state: 911 operators, first responders, ambulance personnel and healthcare professionals. Our North Dakota legislators are also everyday heroes and each of us can be too. Learning CPR can equip you to save a life. It saved mine.

A year ago I suffered a heart attack while walking in the Fargo-Moorhead Holiday Lights Parade. I was fortunate to collapse in front of nurses and a physician who responded immediately. They started CPR, while a police officer ran to get the automated external defibrillator. By the time the ambulance arrived, I was responding. They whisked me away to the hospital and, within minutes, the blockage in my heart was opened. A week later I was back at work.

If an adult suddenly collapses, the first step is to dial 911. The next step is to perform CPR until help arrives and use an AED if one is available. Not everyone who receives CPR will be saved, but it can double or triple a person’s chances of survival.

Everyone can and should learn CPR. I am thankful that North Dakota legislators passed a bill to provide funding to all public and private high schools to teach CPR before graduation. Teenagers are everywhere in the community — at the mall, working at the gas station and restaurants or at community activities and sporting events. CPR is a lifelong skill that can save a life including that of a family member.

Our youth is our next generation of lifesavers. Encourage your local school to provide CPR/AED training and become CPR smart. Let’s give every young person the skills to be an everyday hero.