Monday, April 15, 2013

Learn To Save A Life: CCSO Offers Free CPR And AED Training

Cpl. Bill Pschigoda guides Jim Samples, 75, through chest compressions during a recent CPR training session at Enchanting Shores Co-Op in East Naples. The Collier County Sheriff's Office offers free "hands-only’’ CPR and AED training to homeowner groups and any member of the community who would like to learn how to save a life. Photo by Kristi Lester/CCSO

In a community room at Enchanting Shores Co-op in East Naples, the Bee Gees’ hit "Stayin’ Alive" plays over the sound system while a group of retirees practice CPR in sync with the disco song made popular in the 1970s film "Saturday Night Fever."

Enchanting Shores residents now have a better chance of staying alive, thanks to CPR classes offered by the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.

The classes teach individuals how to perform chest compressions, use Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and follow proper life-saving procedures.

CCSO provides free "hands-only’’ cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and AED training to homeowner groups and any member of the community who would like to learn how to save a life. The classes follow the American Heart Association’s CPR curriculum. The time it takes to teach the classes varies, depending on the level of certification being sought.

Cpl. Bill Pschigoda, assisted by the other deputies assigned to the sheriff’s East Naples Community Policing Unit, teaches the hands-only CPR classes using the 100 beats-per-minute rhythm of “Stayin’ Alive,” the Bee Gees tune, as a template for participants to follow in performing compressions.

“Having members of our community trained in CPR and the immediate use of an AED is a crucial part of a successful rescue,” said Cpl. Pschigoda, who has been teaching CPR classes in Collier County for nearly 25 years.

Cpl. Pschigoda, who is cross-trained as an emergency medical technician, has conducted four classes at Enchanting Shores since November 2012, when the retirement community purchased its first AED. Residents pooled $1,500 of their own money to buy it.

“I think everybody is glad it’s here,” said Rick Maxfield, president of the Enchanting Shores co-op and a retired EMS/Fire Chief from Ohio.

So far, nobody at Enchanting Shores has had to use the AED, said Maxfield, 58. But if they ever need to, there are now residents trained to use it.

“I always tell people that I hope this (training) is a waste of your time,” Maxfield said. “By that I mean I hope you never have to use it. By the same token it may be the most valuable training you ever have.”

The American Heart Association teaches a five-step process for providing treatment to victims of sudden cardiac arrest called Chain of Survival. The five links in the adult Chain of Survival are:

• Immediate recognition of cardiac arrest and activation of the emergency response system by calling 911 right away

• Early CPR with an emphasis on chest compressions

• Rapid defibrillation by using the AED

• Effective advanced life support by EMS or other healthcare staff

• Integrated post-cardiac arrest care

A strong Chain of Survival can improve the chances of survival and recovery for victims of heart attack, stroke and other emergencies.

“As the first person making contact with a victim needing CPR, you are one of the most important rescuers in the Chain of Survival,” Cpl. Pschigoda told participants.

The first three to five minutes after a person suffers a cardiac arrest are the most important time for CPR and the AED to be used because the heart has stopped beating and there is no oxygenated blood being moved throughout the body. After the first three to five minutes have passed the chances for survival greatly decrease.

In an emergency, the first responder must assess the situation for his or her safety as well as the patient’s safety and act quickly and appropriately. The first responder should then ask bystanders to call 911 and locate an AED.

An individual requiring CPR must be flat on his or her back, on a hard surface. Performing chest compressions involves interlocking the rescuers two hands, one hand on top of the other, and firmly pressing into the center of the chest at least 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches deep.

To perform adequate CPR and prevent exhaustion, Cpl. Pschigoda recommends switching off with another trained bystander every two minutes until paramedics or firefighters arrive on scene to take over.

Individuals should implement an AED as soon as they can and not wait until emergency personnel arrive on scene.

Pam Loveless, 72, teamed up with fellow resident Jim Samples, 75, to practice compressions and use an AED under the guidance of Cpl. Pschigoda.

“I’m really glad I came,” Loveless said. “I have more confidence now that I know that I can help someone in crisis. I wouldn’t stand by and say, ‘Somebody do something.’’’

The last time Loveless had CPR training was 25 years ago, she said.

“You’re never too old to learn,” Loveless said.

Enchanting Shores resident Susan Carter, 71, said she has long been a supporter of AEDs and is glad her community purchased one.

Carter said she regularly takes AED retraining because her husband Leo, 78, has heart issues. The Carters have had an AED in their home since 1999. They were the first private citizens to own an AED in Collier County, said Captain Noemi Fraguela, AED coordinator for Collier County EMS.

“We’ve never had to use it but it gives us the warm fuzzies to have it,” Susan Carter said.

Community members or groups that would like to learn basic hands-only CPR should contact Cpl. William Pschigoda at (239) 252-9448, or to set up a class date and time. Classes are free.

Additional classes are also taught by other local American Heart Association instructors. These instructors are available through Collier County EMS, any of the fire agencies in Collier County as well as the education department at NCH Naples Hospital.