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Learn CPR, save a life

November 03, 2012|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • Alyssa Weagley of Chambersburg, Pa., practices chest compressions on a mannequin Saturday at the Heartsaver CPR class at Chambersburg Hospital sponsored by the American Heart Association and Franklin County Department of Emergency Services.
By Roxann Miller

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — In Franklin County, fewer than 1 percent of patients who suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital will survive the attack.

Dave Donohue, director of the Franklin County Department of Emergency Services, wants to turn those odds around.

He came up with the idea for the first countywide CPR training class in the spring, took it to the EMS chiefs and held classes on Saturday.

“CPR is the single most important link in the chain of survival,” Donohue said. “The reality is if someone has a heart attack, it takes at least eight or nine minutes for advanced care to arrive. The reality is if CPR is not done quickly, the odds of survival are essentially zero.”

The Heartsaver CPR class was held Saturday at three locations in Franklin County — Chambersburg Hospital, Fayetteville (Pa.) Volunteer Fire Department, and Mercersburg Montgomery Peters and Warren Volunteer Fire Department in Mercersburg, Pa.

About 60 residents attended the free, four-hour CPR training sponsored by the American Heart Association and Franklin County Department of Emergency Services.

Heartsaver CPR is a classroom, video-based instruction course that teaches adult CPR and AED use, as well as how to relieve choking on an adult. Some participants also learned infant and child CPR.

Donohue was pleased with Saturday’s attendance, and would like the training to become an annual countywide event.

“I would have liked to have seen more, but we have almost 60 for today between the three locations, so that’s fantastic,” he said. “Personally, I think everybody should know CPR, but I’ll start with 60.”

Anne Habig’s friend is alive today because a stranger knew CPR.

“I had a friend who died in Alaska, but a CPR nurse brought him back,” said Habig, 73.

She said her friend was in a remote area of Alaska when he suffered cardiac arrest.

But the woman’s CPR training not only brought her friend back, but he is alive and well today because of her quick response.

It was that story that Habig said inspired her to take Saturday’s Heartsaver CPR class.

“I hope I never have to use it, but that gal did, and bless her heart,” she said.

It wasn’t Judy McCormick’s first CPR class, but she likes to keep her skills up to date.

Her husband, Harry, 75, of Greencastle, Pa., and her 14-year-old granddaughter both have heart issues.

“I think everyone should take a CPR class,” she said. “It could save a life. It’s been proven that it has saved lives.”

As Natalie Boozer, 24, of Chambersburg, straightened her arms and pushed on the mannequin’s chest to start chest compressions, her co-workers, Nate Richards and Joan Wagner, gave her friendly prompts.

The three work at Richards Orthopaedic Center in Chambersburg.

“We see a lot of elderly patients. We also see children as well, so we thought it was important for us to be CPR-certified just in case something were to happen, we could be right there to respond,” Boozer said.

This is the first time Boozer has participated in a CPR class.

“I think it’s important for everyone to learn just in case whatever situation you may be in, you can be the first one to respond and help render some aid,” she said.

Alyssa Weagley’s job at a local day care requires her to be certified in infant and child CPR.

“You never know, you might be out somewhere and be in a situation where you need to know it,” said Weagley, 21.

But Weagley said she hopes she never has to call upon her new-found skills.

“It’s something that you want to know, but you hope you never need it,” she said.

For more information on Heartsaver CPR, call Donohue at the Franklin County Department of Emergency Services at 717-264-2813.

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