ST. GEORGE — Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in the United States and nearly 90 percent of the 380,000 cases each year occur outside of a hospital, according to the American Heart Association – so bystanders can play an important role in improving any chance for survival.
“No matter how quickly emergency responders get to a scene, bystanders will always be there first,” St. George Fire Battalion Chief Robert Hooper said.
National EMS Week begins May 20 and brings local communities and medical personnel together to honor those providing lifesaving medical services during some of life’s most critical moments.
In recognition, the St. George Fire Department is holding a CPR/AED, or automatic external defibrillator, training class May 24 from 9-11 a.m. at the St. George City Council Chambers, 175 N. 200 E. in St. George.
Despite more than 88 percent of all sudden heart attacks taking place outside of a hospital, less than 5 percent of the population is trained in CPR, Hooper said.
That means that most of the cardiac events take place in the presence of bystanders who are not properly trained to help them.
“Most people take a CPR class after they were in a position where it was needed, but were unable to perform CPR because they had no training” Hooper said.
He added that for many, their first CPR class takes place over the phone with a 911 dispatcher giving them instructions during a real-life scenario.
“Imagine trying to learn CPR for the first time on the phone with 911,” Hooper said, “while you’re trying to save a family member who is not breathing.”
Without adequate training, responding to this type of medical emergency can be impossible and death can occur rapidly.
On the other hand, the victim’s chance for survival doubles or even triples if CPR is administered quickly.
The two-hour training class provides information on identifying the signs and symptoms that precede a cardiac event, which helps to determine the appropriate course of action needed until help arrives.
“When in doubt start CPR,” Hooper said.
The course also includes training on the use of an AED, a device used to help those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest by analyzing the heart’s rhythm and, if necessary, delivering an electrical shock to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm.
It can take between 6-10 minutes for EMS to arrive and each minute defibrillation is delayed reduces the odds of survival by about 10 percent, so knowing how to use the device is important, according to the American Heart Association.
All municipal offices and facilities in St. George are equipped with an AED, Hooper said.
That importance of having the proper training was illustrated in November when an elementary school principal suffered a cardiac arrest during a district meeting.
Performing CPR in combination with the defibrillator saved the principal’s life that day, made possible by the fact that all school officials present during the meeting were trained in both.
The May 24 training course also includes demonstrations, PowerPoint presentations and small group exercises in which attendees are able to practice what they’ve learned.
For those who need a American Safety and Health Certification card, the cost is $20, and there is no charge for those taking the course without certification as part of “Save-a-Life Day.”
Class size is limited to 50 person, and registration is required.
- What: “Save-a-Life Day” CPR/AED Training and Certification
- When: Thursday, May 24 | 9-11 a.m.
- Where: St. George City Council Chambers, 175 N. 200 E., St. George.
- Cost: Training with certification – $20 per person | Training without certification is free
- Details: Registration is required to attend the course by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
rg, or by calling 435-627-4153.
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