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CPR saves lives
Diocese provides training for schools and parishes.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), 92,000 lives are saved each year by cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). CPR is an emergency manual procedure used on a person who is in cardiac arrest and has stopped breathing or has abnormal breathing. AHA estimates that nearly 200,000 people could be saved every year if CPR was administered in a timely manner.
Automated external defibrillators (AED) — portable electronic devices that stop uncontrolled heart contractions —also save lives.
The diocesan Office of Risk Management offers classes in CPR, AED and first aid to school and parish staffs.
The office uses the American Red Cross training program and has five AED test units and 15 CPR mannequins for training. The classes last about eight hours and are generally held on Saturdays.
The courses are becoming popular. Director Mary Stewart often is asked by diocesan staff about Red Cross training. Many have taken it in the past and have been certified, but it’s only valid for two years.
“It’s one of the nice services we like to provide,” said director Mary Stewart.
Cellphones have helped get emergency personnel to victims quickly, but “people need to know what to do within the first 10 minutes,” she said.
That’s where the training comes in.
Stewart’s goal is to have one training opportunity a month. She’s especially interested in getting church ushers trained because of the potential of life-threatening health emergencies during worship services. Stewart said there have been times in the past where a trained usher could have provided CPR.
The diocese is an authorized Red Cross Provider, which means that diocesan employees or volunteers are Red Cross-trained instructors. These instructors can teach others CPR, AED and first aid. There are two certified Red Cross instructors for the diocese: Omar Mejia, a risk specialist in the Office of Risk Management, and Elizabeth Hickey, physical education and health coordinator at Holy Spirit School in Annandale.
At an Aug. 18 training session, Mejia showed a class with staffs from St. Anthony of Padua Church in Falls Church and the Arlington diocesan Office of Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) how to effectively administer CPR. Practice dummies were scattered around the floor as trainees practiced by first shouting, “Call 911,” and then immediately beginning chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing.
Some students struggled with getting enough air into the “victim” to ensure a return to consciousness, but eventually all got the mechanics correct.
MRS training instructor Kira Hamrin said these classes are important.
“We could save a colleague’s life.”