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Mass. EMT Cadets Win AHA Award

Telegram & Gazette, Worcester, Mass.

For the past seven months, Nashoba nurses Sarah DelConte Cosentino and Lesa Breault-Gulbicki, along with Nashoba Cadet EMT students and Cadet EMT Program Co-Coordinator Dr. Christina Hernon, have participated in the Hands-Only CPR challenge put on by the American Heart Association (AHA). Recently the challenge has come to a close, with a grand total of 912 people taught by the students and nurses. Nashoba was honored with an award by Blair Young, senior director at American Heart Association. Young met the students who helped put on this event and celebrated their success with them.

The American Heart Association challenged high schools and colleges across Massachusetts to participate in this event to teach as many people in their community CPR. Young said.

"There is an 8 percent chance of surviving an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest," Young said, but bystander CPR can double or triple a person's chance of survival after a cardiac arrest. But AHA reports that only about 46 percent of victims actually receive bystander CPR. Local data from Worcester EMS reports that only 23 percent of their sudden cardiac arrests calls are receiving any kind of CPR when they arrive. According to statistics, 70 percent of cardiac arrests occur in a home.

By creating challenges and raising awareness for cardiac arrests, AHA hopes to increase the amount of people surviving from sudden cardiac arrest. Approximately 500 additional lives could be saved in the Central Massachusetts area just by increasing use of bystander CPR.

If you witness an adult or teen collapse and cardiac arrest is suspected, there are two easy steps to follow in order to administer hands-only CPR. First, call 911, then push hard and fast in the center of the chest. The 9-1-1-operator will help teach and instruct you on how to perform chest compressions: You will need to interlock your hands and push about 2-to-2.4 inches deep into the chest at 100 beats per minute (with is to the rhythm of the song "Staying Alive" by the Bee Gees).

While giving compressions, you should also send a bystander to get an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED), if available. These devices are made for people with no experience. They can commonly be found in public buildings and are marked with a heart that has a lighting bolt through it and the letters AED. Also, at all times make sure to stay on the phone with dispatch, as they can be able to guide you and give you relevant information.

The American Heart Association has helped to train over 16 million Americans in CPR in one year. If you would like to learn more about AHA's emergency care initiatives, you can visit its website at

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