August 10, 2020

By JAKE DAVIDSON

Taking a simple cardiopulmonary resuscitation course could help you save someone’s life.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation, St. John’s Ambulance, the City of Cambridge, the Cambridge Fire Department and the Kitchener Fire Department sponsored two classes on CPR and automated external defibrillator skills to residents of Waterloo Region.

“When we started this years ago we had a clear objective, we need to have one member of every house in the region know how to perform CPR  and to how to use a defibrillator,” said Sam AbiSaab, community mission specialist, for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario.

According to AbiSaab, most of the sudden cardiac arrests that occur outside the hospital are in the home or in a public place, and the first few minutes are crucial to increasing the survival rate from less than 10 per cent to 75 per cent.

The best thing you can do when someone is having cardiac problems is to call 911 immediately so that help will be on the way. The goal of the two classes was to get 500 people to the Cambridge City Hall and the Kitchener Auditorium. More than that signed up so they had to turn some people away.

“We hope we will be able to train everyone today, at least with 500 people learning the live-saving skills it feels safer to be around,” AbiSaab said.

People of all ages attended,  some as young as 10 and some as old as 90.

“I’m in this class because I’ve gone on several school trips with my grandchildren and I hang around a lot of older people so this course seemed like a good idea,” said Shirley Watson a Cambridge resident.

Anyone old enough to understand it should learn to perform CPR. This year 35,000 students across the region were trained.

These larger classes aren’t held often, only once or twice a year, but Community Awareness and Response to Emergencies holds free classes year-round that teach people basic defibrillator and CPR skills.

The main thing that keeps people from learning these life-saving skills is fear that a professional is the only person who can help someone but it is actually a very easy skill to learn. The Heart and Stroke Foundation has been delivering these sessions since the 1970s when CPR guidelines were first introduced.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation’s hope is that everyone will know CPR and how to use a defibrillator.

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