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Posted on June 18, 2014 | 10:59 a.m.

20 Minutes to Save a Life: Hands-Only CPR Training Planned in Carpinteria

Source: Leslee Goodman for Smart Community CPR

The Carpinteria-Summerland Firefighters Association in conjunction with Smart Community CPR, a Central California Coast nonprofit, will train members of the public in how to recognize and effectively treat people who have suffered a sudden cardiac arrest.

There will be a free public event from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, June 28 at Veterans Hall, 831 Walnut Ave. in Carpinteria. The complete training takes only 20 minutes.

Every day, an estimated 1,000 Americans suffer a sudden cardiac arrest. On the average, only about 10 percent of these victims survive. The first two keys to survival are early recognition of cardiac arrest and early hands-only chest compressions by a witness. If these two conditions are met, SCA survival rates improve dramatically.

There are many reasons bystanders fail to help. Number one is that most people don’t feel confident they can help. Very few people are trained in CPR and those who are may doubt their ability to remember their training correctly. Traditional CPR classes are relatively expensive and time-consuming, making it difficult for people to refresh their skills. In addition, many people are afraid to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on a stranger.

Smart Community CPR overcomes all of these barriers.

“Smart CPR focuses on chest compression,” said Jim Emerson, paramedic/firefighter with the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Department and a founding member of Smart Community CPR. “The chances of survival are time-dependent, meaning that we, as professional rescuers, need the public to recognize that a person has collapsed, is unconscious and not breathing, and immediately call 9-1-1. If they can also access an automatic external defibrillator, that’s a lifesaver, too. Next, proper hands-only CPR should be initiated. Effective chest compression keeps oxygenated blood moving to the heart and brain until emergency medical personnel can arrive. We need the public to act with confidence and skill to dramatically increase the chances of survival.”

The ability to recognize SCA and act is a rather simple skill. Smart Community CPR has developed a two-step approach to educate and train every-day people to perform this lifesaving act. The first step is to view and interact with a training video — a tool that teaches the first steps to take when witnessing an SCA. After completing the interactive video training, the rescuer then learns how to do effective hands-only chest compressions on a feedback manikin. The manikin measures the rate, depth and recoil of each compression. Proper chest compressions are vital to survival.

“We utilize an AmbuSmartMan manikin that provides immediate feedback on what compressions are effective,” Emerson said. “This feedback gives people the skills and the confidence to step in and save a life in the event of an SCA.”

The technique can be performed effectively by anyone. After a recent training at San Marcos High School, all except one participant said they would feel competent and confident enough to respond if they witnessed an SCA. The lone participant who doubted her confidence said she could and would take over for a few minutes if a primary responder grew tired.

SmartCommunityCPR’s mission is to educate a critical mass of lay people who are both willing and competent to act in the event of an SCA.

“We estimate that we need to train 10 percent of the community in order to produce a measurable increase in SCA survival,” Emerson says. “But that’s a worthwhile goal.”

The event in Carpinteria will be staffed and supported by the Carpinteria-Summerland Firefighter Association.

“Please join us in helping save lives,” Emerson says. “We can’t do it without you.”

For more information about the Save a Life Smart Community CPR event, click here or contact Bin Anderson at 805.453.6538 or Emerson at 805.570.9061.

 — Leslee Goodman is a publicist representing Smart Community CPR.

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