Ga. AHA Members Offer Free CPR Training to Public
June 02—Anyone walking in downtown Augusta on Friday afternoon might have heard the faint beat of the Bee Gees' hit "Stayin' Alive" coming from the Augusta Common area.
Members of the American Heart Association's North Augusta location used that song, among others, to teach passersby how to conduct cardiopulmonary resuscitations a kickoff to National CPR Week.
More than a dozen people walking past the Augusta Common took advantage of the free lessons, offered by American Heart Association employees and volunteer Frank Lindley, who was the CFO of Gold Cross before he retired last year.
The lessons allowed the public to practice giving chest compressions to dummies. Heather Thomason, who has had training, attended to make sure she's prepared in case of an emergency.
"I've been certified before with mouth-to-mouth CPR and I wanted to see the difference," she said.
Kayla Kranenberg, the executive director for the North Augusta American Heart Association, said that while mouth-to-mouth is still taught in certification courses, hands-only CPR is effective and might be more comfortable for people to perform if a stranger suffers cardiac arrest.
"Seventy percent of cardiac arrests happen outside of the hospital and 90 percent of people who go into cardiac arrest do not make it, and all it takes is for someone to know how to do chest compressions," Kranenberg said. "Call 911 and do chest compressions hard and fast in the center of the chest and more than likely you're going to be saving a loved one."
Kranenberg said the event was first held last year and will likely be held again.
"If you're a health care provider, then you need a certification and the Heart Association offers those certifications, but for a lay person this is all that you really need to know," Kranenberg said. "It's super quick and easy, and you can do it in about 10 minutes."
Lindley said learning CPR is critical, since response times for emergency services can vary. By the time an ambulance arrives, it may be too late.
"We need somebody to immediately respond," Lindley said. "With the average in Richmond County, you're looking at something in the neighborhood of three to seven minutes before you're going to have someone on the scene."
Worries about injuring someone already in cardiac arrest shouldn't stop anyone from helping, Lindley said. Georgia has a law that offers legal protection to those who provide assistance to the ill or injured.
"I cannot tell you the number of times that we've seen folks that will arrest and nobody will do anything," he said. "Part of the nightmare is that so many folks are afraid they're going to be sued."
By training the public to conduct CPR, Lindley said more lives can be saved.
"Bad CPR is better than no CPR," he said. "Everybody needs to know CPR."
While the lessons did not grant CPR certification, that training can be arranged through the American Heart Association by calling (803) 341-9592.