American Heart Association presents free CPR Training

American Heart Association presents free CPR Training Knowing how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation can mean the difference between life and death for a loved one. To arm more area residents with basic CPR skills, the American Heart Association (AHA) will present "Heart Trains Heroes," a free CPR training event, Saturday, Feb. 8 at Western Iowa Tech Community College, 4647 Stone Ave.

Persons age 8 and older are welcome to attend. Preregistration is encouraged, as organizers hope to draw as many as 400 persons to this event. Two-hour training sessions in Adult CPR will be held at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., and noon, with a Spanish- speaking session offered at 10 a.m. also. A two-hour training session in Infant/Child CPR will be at 2 p.m. Instructors use the AHA's CPR/basic life support course called "CPR for Family and Friends." The course is not for professional certification.

Heart disease is the nation's No. 1 killer, and many of those deaths � about 220,000 each year � occur suddenly and without warning due to sudden cardiac arrest. When performed effectively, CPR can double a sudden cardiac arrest victim's chances of survival and add critical minutes to patients life until emergency medical care arrives, according to the AHA.

When someone is in cardiac arrest, calling 911 is essential, but not enough. Two more steps must be taken immediately, AHA officials note: First, CPR must be given to keep blood flowing the brain and heart while waiting for rescue crews to arrive. Second, defibrillation must take place to stop abnormal, erratic heart rhythm, allowing the heart to resume its normal rhythm. Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) provide an electric shock, the most effective way to defibrillate. While some public buildings have AEDs, most emergency personnel also carry them.

"There's a catch to surviving cardiac arrest � CPR and defibrillation have to happen immediately," said Brian Thiele, education officer for the Sioux City Fire Department. "This means that if someone goes into sudden cardiac arrest in the middle of Sunday dinner, one person at the table has to start CPR while another dials 9-1-1. It has to happen that quickly."

The Heart Trains Heroes course in Sioux City is offered through the AHA's Operation Heartbeat program � a community coalition designed to work with local agencies to improve Siouxland's four links in the chain of survival: 1) recognizing the warning signs of a cardiovascular emergency and immediately dialing 911; 2) administering CPR; 3) providing early defibrillation with an AED, and 4) receiving early advanced medical care. Community partners include the Sioux City Fire Department, St. Luke's Regional Medical Center, Mercy Medical Center, and Western Iowa Tech Community College. The Kind World Foundation and Long Lines, Ltd. also support this event.

To learn more about or to register for the Heart Trains Heroes free CPR event, please call Western Iowa Tech at (712) 274-6404.

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