Free CPR class being offeredIn an effort to improve education for the 70 percent of Americans who do not know CPR or have not been trained in several years, Jamestown Ambulance and the American Heart Association are partnering to offer a free CPR class Wednesday.
By: Brian Willhide, The Jamestown Sun
In an effort to improve education for the 70 percent of Americans who do not know CPR or have not been trained in several years, Jamestown Ambulance and the American Heart Association are partnering to offer a free CPR class Wednesday.
“Those first few moments during a cardiac emergency are so critical,” said Joan Enderle, director of communications with the Jamestown affiliate of the American Heart Association.
With nearly 400,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests taking place annually in the U.S., 80 percent of which occur at home according to the AHA, officials say it is so important for everyone to at least have a basic understanding of CPR and cardiac emergency situations.
“Early recognition and understanding what to look for is so key,” said PJ Hardy, BLS (basic life support) education coordinator and paramedic with Jamestown Ambulance. “It’s not a hard process, nor a scary one. And people that have that knowledge and know what to do are proven to be more at ease if an emergency arises.”
The class is being held in conjunction with Ringdahl EMS and will be held at four other regional locations Wednesday, including Lisbon, N.D., and three sites in Minnesota. This week also marks National EMS Week, which honors the work all EMS professionals do in communities around the country.
While Wednesday’s session is not an official CPR certification class, paramedics and EMTs will use the one-hour session to teach the most basic steps to take when someone goes into cardiac arrest.
“This will equip anyone with the skills needed for knowing what to do in those initial moments of emergency before an ambulance arrives,” said Randy Fischer, operations director with Ringdahl EMS. “No matter how good of an ambulance service a town has, and we have several great ambulance services around the state, they’re never as close by as a family member or friend or a neighbor, so knowing where to start is essential.”
Help from bystanders continues to be an area of concern, as the American Heart Association reports that less than one out of every three cardiac arrest victims actually receives CPR from a bystander.
To help improve upon bystanders stepping in, hands-only CPR and an understanding of an automated external defibrillator (AED) will be most heavily emphasized during Wednesday’s class.
Hands-only CPR is a much more simple process that involves just two steps: calling 911 and providing chest compressions hard and fast in the center of the chest. An AED is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses the abnormal cardiac activity in a patient and treats it through defibrillation.
“Research shows that even just doing hands-only CPR can double or even triple the survival rate of someone that has gone into cardiac arrest,” Enderle said.
This form of CPR is something a larger number of people can be comfortable with, according to Nancy Miller, business manager with Jamestown Ambulance and CPR-certified EMT.
“This can get more people involved with helping out because many people are afraid of breathing on someone during conventional CPR, but early hands-only CPR does save lives,” she said. “As soon as someone has determined the person is unresponsive, chest compressions can keep the victim’s blood flowing and their air circulating.”
Having that initial understanding of what to do can help save lives, according to Hardy.
“It’s when you don’t know what to do or how to react that a person’s nerves start to kick in,” she said. “But once you hear about what to do and see it performed in some kind of training, then when the situation arises you’ll know to call for help and start compressions.”
The free class is being offered locally at both Jamestown Ambulance and First Medic Ambulance in Lisbon on Wednesday from 7 to 8 p.m., in addition to the three Minnesota locations.
Those who don’t have time for a class are encouraged to watch a one-minute video about hands-only CPR at www.handsonlycpr.org.
For more heart health information, visit heart.org.
Sun reporter Brian Willhide can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org