Educating Your Community About Why Minutes Matter

Educating Your Community About Why Minutes Matter

By Kim Berndtson Aug 17, 2010

This year marks the 50th anniversary of traditional mouth-to-mouth cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It continues to be the preferred method for saving the lives of children and toddlers, as well as victims who have been unconscious for unknown periods of time. But about five years ago, doctors in Arizona began promoting hands-only CPR which eliminates mouth-to-mouth contact but retains chest compressions to keep blood flowing to the brain to keep it alive.

Through a series of happenstance events--including a call to a victim who was receiving proper CPR, but on a soft bed--Teri Giordano, NREMT-P at Cherokee Tribal EMS (NC), realized she wanted to do more to promote CPR to residents in her area.

"I remember leaving that call very frustrated," she says. "I wondered what could have happened if everything had been done correctly."

Giordano also relates a discussion she had with a friend who wanted to do more to promote stroke awareness, and who had a life-changing encounter with a firefighter in San Francisco who was promoting CPR at a storefront event in that city last year. Compounded with exposure to several articles about other agencies hosting CPR training events, Giordano realized residents in her area needed CPR training just as much.

"I figured I had enough signs that I was supposed to start something, and could incorporate stroke awareness," she says. "I realized we needed to do something, and we needed to do it now."

As such, she--along with four other healthcare professionals, including Robin Jones, RN, stroke center coordinator at Mission Memorial Hospital in Asheville, NC; Carolyn Crook, MS, director of heart disease and stroke prevention for Mountain Area Health Education Center; Frank Castelblanco, RN, director of cardiac emergencies at Mission Memorial Hospital in Asheville, NC; and Dana Triplett, RN, Code STEMI Coordinator at Mission Memorial Hospital in Asheville, NC--organized MINUTES MATTER.

The grassroots campaign is focused on educating residents in western North Carolina how to perform hands-only CPR, as well as how to recognize a stroke (utilizing ACT Fast) and the importance of call 9-1-1 promptly.

"Minutes really do matter. That's how we came up with the name for our organization," says Giordano. "With traditional CPR, people are concerned about properly checking pulse and breathing, and they may be hesitant to put their mouth on a stranger's mouth. With hands-only CPR and sudden collapse victims, you keep blood circulating and flowing to the brain to keep it alive. If you initiate CPR right away, it can make a difference."

Overwhelming Response

Giordano's initial goal was to host an event similar to San Francisco's CPR storefront event, but it has evolved into much more.

Continue Reading

"We now have a team," she says. "We've already held some events, and many more are planned. We've even received donations for a booth at our State Fair. I've also been in touch with the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association and one of our state representatives who is an SCA survivor. Support for the idea to host events where we teach people hands-only CPR, stroke awareness and 9-1-1 activation has been overwhelming, and we've had a lot of response from EMS agencies in our area."

Giordano is convinced that such public events can make a difference.

"They're a great way to get involved in the public," she says. "And even in this time of budget cuts, these events are great because they don't cost any money. All that is required is asking people if they want to learn CPR, including hands-only CPR, and how to recognize the symptoms of stroke."

With that focus, MINUTES MATTER held its first EMS-sponsored event with WestCare EMS, a division of MedWest Healthcare, on July 30 at a Walmart storefront in Sylva where 76 people were trained. Other events have included a church group block party and sponsorship at a booth at Bele Chere (a festival in Asheville) where more than 300 people were trained. Several other events are planned as well, including booths at the Macon County Fairgrounds in Franklin, the Apple Festival in Hendersonville (sponsored by Pardee Hespital and employee) and at the North Carolina Mountain State Fair in Fletcher. Other events are planned throughout August and September.

"There is so much information and education that is available to the public," she continues. "We take for granted people know CPR techniques. But even with the availability of sources such as the internet, they just aren't getting the message. But in less than five minutes, we can teach people two life-saving techniques.

"EMS used to play such a huge role in public education," she continues. "But we've gotten away from doing events that help get the message out. It's time to get involved again in our communities."

MINUTES MATTER is now supported by the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association, the National Institute for Neurological Disease, Mission Memorial Hospital, RACE, MAHEC, North Carolina State Representative Becky Carney, the North Carolina Office of EMS, CPR Across America, American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, the Brain Attack Coalition, Zoll Medical and many local EMS and fire departments.

For more information about MINUTES MATTER and to obtain a complete list of scheduled events, visit Follow MINUTES MATTER on Facebook.


Toledo City Council approved the $800,000 contract for paramedic training at the University of Toledo despite some council members' attempt to reverse the vote to establish a cheaper program.
Nursing students were put to the test in a mass casualty simulation involving multiple gunshot wound victims.
Chapel Hill High School opened its Firefighting Academy, offering EMT and firefighter certifications for students to be eligible for employment after graduation.
Burke County's emergency personnel are training deputies so they can provide first aid to citizens before EMS arrive.
In a study involving 160 students performing CPR on manikins, the 95% success rate led Eashan Biswas to lobby for a district-wide CPR training program for students.
Following the lead of other churches in the country, Michigan church members receive response training to active shooter incidents and improve their security.
Residents learned about the 'run, hide, fight' response plan in the event of an active shooter situation, including giving medical attention to the wounded.
University staff were trained in using Narcan in addition to participating in a days' worth of events spreading awareness of the opioid epidemic to students and staff.
Portsmouth Ambulance partnered with Shawnee State University to offer 24 scholarships and textbooks to individuals interested in pursuing an EMT certification.
As gun violence increases in frequency, 'Stop the Bleed' aims to teach bystanders how to save someone's life with basic bleeding control techniques.
Before determining its value, we have training questions to answer.
To ensure citizens are prepared in the event of a mass casualty incident, the Edwardsville Fire Department is offering the community training on bleeding control methods and CPR.
What sends EMS providers to emergency departments? A new study delves into causes.
Excelsior College allegedly defrauded thousands of students and failed them unreasonably, preventing the majority of students from graduating, including a paramedic with 24 years of experience.
Platinum is pleased to announce its new collaboration with Corporate Screening, a provider of pre-employment and student background screening services, via their VerifyStudents platform.