SPFD: Free Hands-Only CPR training
will teach simple lifesaving Thursday

June 04, 2014
Santa Paula News

Based on various studies and statistics but put very simply, the life you save with CPR is most likely to be someone you love.

And you’ll be able to learn the easiest CPR technique for free Thursday, June 5 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Vons Super Market, 550 West Main St.

Known as Sidewalk CPR and Hands-Only CPR, the training will be offered by the Santa Paula Fire Department in conjunction with other emergency response agencies throughout Ventura County.

“Everyone come out,” said SPFD Firefighter Matt Klein, coordinator of the training event. “... bring your kids, your brothers and sisters, cousins and the elderly for an opportunity to practice and learn.”

And more have to learn: “Sadly,” noted SPFD Reserve Firefighter Andy VanSciver, “70 percent of Americans may feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency because they either do not know how to administer CPR or their training has significantly lapsed.”

The American Heart Association states that 88 percent of cardiac arrests occur in the home, so, “Statistically speaking, if called on to administer CPR in an emergency, the life you save is likely to be someone at home: a child, a spouse, a parent or a friend.”

Santa Paulans have responded to the call for trained CPR providers: Klein said last year’s citywide training session was “Extremely successful... Santa Paula had the second highest turnout in the county,” and, in fact, trained more people per capita than any other city.

It is easy to see the attraction: “The idea behind it is that the basic chest compressions are what saves lives, basic steps that will increase survivability. 

“And it’s very easy to do,” with simple instruction that takes “only two minutes to learn,” said Klein.

“I will be looking forward to seeing everyone there... even smaller children can learn it,” and its easy to remember compression rate of 100 per minute, as simple as keeping to the beat of the famed Bee Gees’ song “Stayin’ Alive” that the Hands-Only CPR cites for instruction.

Klein has been involved in other Sidewalk CPR training sessions the past two years, including those held at the September Cruise Nite - instruction given as part of the annual Ready Santa Paula! Emergency Preparedness fair - and at the Community Center’s Senior Center. 

One thing that many of those that take the training have in common is discovering how simple it is to save a life.

Following the training, Klein said, “People stand up and say ‘that was easy!’ - that’s why we’re really trying to educate people that it’s basic simple steps that can really make a difference.”

Hands-Only CPR training does not take the place of certified American Red Cross First Aid training, which also covers other medical emergencies.

“At our event Thursday we will have information on where you get the Red Cross certification,” at the booths set up for instruction that will also offer stickers, magnets and pencils, “Little giveaways... it’s all free, everything is free.”

VanSciver said learned Hands-Only CPR might seem daunting to some: “Don’t be afraid; your actions can only help... if you see an unresponsive adult who is not breathing or not breathing normally, call 911 and push hard and fast on the center of the chest. 

“Effective bystander CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival,” but noted VanSciver, “only 32 percent of cardiac arrest victims get CPR from a bystander. Hands-Only CPR has been proven to be as effective as CPR with breaths in treating adult cardiac arrest victims,” and has been recommended by the American Heart Association since 2008.

Noted Klein, “We just want you all to come on out and give us a hand,” two hands actually, “in our teaching the importance of Hands-Only CPR.”

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