Do you know what to do in a medical emergency?
North Warren Volunteer Fire Department is working in conjunction with EmergyCare to host Friends & Family CPR training. The event will take place in the department's fire hall on July 28 with 45 minute sessions starting at 10 a.m. and the last one beginning at 2 p.m.
Jennifer A. Farrar, EmergyCare director of development, said the initiative started because her organization believes in how important it is for people to know CPR. It wants to prepare them, she said, so they're ready to intervene.
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EmergyCare CPR instructor Mike Giannamore guides Tricia Barry in the proper hands-only CPR technique at a free community training at the Erie Zoo on June 30.
Citing American Heart Association statistics, Farrar said about 70 percent of Americans wouldn't do anything to help in an emergency. They either don't know CPR, she said, or are afraid they will hurt the patient.
"If bystanders can start basic care, it will improve the chances of surviving a heart attack," Farrar said.
Some may worry about doing CPR wrong, Farrar said, but the training will demonstrate the basics. In 2008, she said AHA changed recommended treatment to using compressions only since people had trouble performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on strangers.
Some CPR is better than none, Farrar said, and people who perform it can only help in the situation. If they do nothing, lives could be lost.
Automatic External Defibrillators are starting to appear in more public places like schools, churches and stores, Farrar said, and the training program will also make people aware of what they are. Participants will learn what the machines look like, she said, and how simple they are to use.
They give voice prompts when turned on, Farrar said, and they also read heart rhythms to determine whether to deliver a shock or not. Unless they detect specific rhythms, they will not advise delivering a shock.
"We're trying to make people more comfortable in having a role saving people," Farrar said.
Years ago, Farrar said EmergyCare offered similar training. It also had a more recent program on June 30 in Erie.
Now the organization wants to offer classes in other communities it serves, Farrar said, with many statistics pointing to greater need in rural areas. Since people live further away from emergency response groups, she said response times can be longer.
Through grants from Highmark and the DeFrees Fund of the Community Foundation of Warren County, Farrar said each household attending will receive take-home kits which include copies of instructional videos and mini-manikins for people to practice CPR at home. There will be 200 kits available, she said, and she's hoping enough people attend so organizers can distribute at least 100 of the kits.
"Their generosity will make the training more meaningful," Farrar said. "The skills will stick if people practice them."
No signups are needed for the free event.