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Volunteers getting hands-on for CPR awareness month

By: Kristen Oelschlagel

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BELLEVILLE (07/11/12) Sharon Gosling (left) and Erika Davis practice CPR at the Quinte Sports and Wellness Centre during the free CPR lessons. Photo by Kristen Oelschlagel

Sharon Gosling never expected to use her CPR training, but she found out you can never tell when an emergency is going to happen.

“There was a car accident in the states and we were second on scene. I had set up everything to do CPR,” Gosling said.

She said CPR wouldn’t help in that situation because the victim had a collapsed lung, but having the knowledge of how to do CPR made a difference.

“Because I had taken CPR lessons before you know what to do and have gone through the routine, it makes you more calm. Afterwards people were coming up to me saying as soon as they get home they’re going to sign up for CPR lessons.”

As part of CPR Awareness Month, the Heart and Stroke Foundation is working to raise awareness of the importance of knowing CPR and using it in an emergency situation. In partnership with the Hastings-Quinte EMS, they ran free CPR lessons at the Quinte Sports and Wellness Centre on November 7.

Gosling, along with a number of other participants, learned hands-only CPR in the updated course based on guidelines by the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Jeanette Streek, like Gosling, is a participant that has already learned CPR. She said it’s always good to take refresher courses because it’s an important skill to remember and techniques get updated.

There are about 7,000 cardiac arrests in Ontario every year, according the Heart and Stroke Foundation, with the current out-of hospital survival rate being only five to six per cent.

In Hastings County alone, there are 275 cardiac arrests every year.

Deputy Chief of Quality and Development for the Hastings-Quinte EMS, Carl Bowker, said in a situation where CPR is needed every second counts.

“For every minute that passes, it decreases your chance of survival by 10 percent. So if an ambulance is showing up after five minutes and no bystander CPR has been done, your chance of survival has decreased by 50 per cent,” said Bowker.

He said bystander CPR is limited and they’re hoping to improve it by offering these classes and raising awareness.

“It’s a verily simple skill to learn. Once you take that fear away people are more likely to be engaged. Anytime you can get hands-on instruction it makes the learning curve that much easier.”

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