I joined 29 other people who were on their knees at Woodbury Lutheran Church last Saturday evening.
Not necessarily a strange occurence in a church, except we weren’t praying — we were groovin’ to the beat of the Bee Gee’s Stayin’ Alive. Or at least a (fairly) reasonable rendition of it as sung by Firefighter Bill.
We are some of Woodbury’s newest trainees in the Take Heart challenge. The program goal is to train 7,000 citizens in hands-only CPR by the end of the year. The result would be greatly increased chances that someone having a heart attack in Woodbury will survive.
I am CPR-certified, and have imagined my response as a person drops dead in front of me. “I'm certified!” I say to the crowd gathering around, and step forward. And then I look around: “Is that clear out the airway first or check their pulse? Was it two breaths and six chest compressions? Or four breaths and… Anyone else want to try this?” And they all shrug.
While that is the stuff of my imagination, Firefighter/EMT Nathan Beitler says he has seen that scenario all too often in real life. And, sadly, usually the people standing around is a spouse or other close family and/or friends of the victim.
Each minute without oxygen to the brain decreases a person’s survival rate by 10%. Hands-only CPR is easy to remember, immediate and effective. Replacing a three-minute delay while waiting for EMT response (pretty close to the average in Woodbury) gives a heart attack victim a 30% greater chance of survival.
Training takes about 30 minutes, which includes practice on inflatable torsos, and instruction on how to use an automated external defibrillator, or AED (now in a large number of community retail, worship and gathering places in Woodbury).
Across the aisle from me was 7-year-old Emma, who will remember important Step 1: "Dial 911!" And Ellen, herself a heart patient, was encouraged that if she couldn't physically do the compressions on someone else, she could talk another person through it.
At the end of the class, we were invited to share what we learned with others (Step two: Push hard and fast), and to consider booking a Save A Life Party for family, Bible study, mom's group, or any other other group of 1-100 people.
Book a party for your neighbors! In just 30 minutes, you will learn a new skill, get your own two-minute cardiac workout as you practice the technique, and walk away with newfound confidence that you could, indeed, save a life one day. And, that life you save would most likely be someone you love.
For more information on scheduling a Take Heart Save a Life Party or to attend a community training session, contact Angela Kain, Take Heart Coordinator with Woodbury Public Safety, firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at (651) 414-3471.