Modesto project offers free training in simpler CPR

kcarlson@modbee.comMay 19, 2013 

    alternate textKen Carlson
    Title: Staff writer
    Coverage areas: County government, health and medicine, air quality, the environment and public pension systems
    Bio: Ken Carlson has worked 13 years for The Bee, covering local government agencies in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties. His in-depth reporting has focused on access to health care and public employee pensions.
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— Emergency responders are teaching an easier lifesaving technique to residents so that cardiac arrest victims have a better chance of survival.

They hope to train up to 1,000 people in 30-minute classes held across Modesto on Wednesday, giving them the ability to perform the chest compressions of cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

There's a growing consensus that people not certified in CPR can save a life simply by pushing hard and fast on the chest of a person who has stopped breathing, until emergency personnel arrive with more advanced help.

It's believed the victim has a better chance of living if a novice skips the mouth-to-mouth part of CPR.

"In some cases, doing compressions alone is enough to resuscitate a patient or help a cardiac arrest victim survive," said Rod Brouhard, training supervisor for American Medical Response.

He said chest compressions maintain the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and other organs for several minutes. Blood that passed through the lungs minutes before the person stopped breathing is rich with oxygen but needs to be moved to vital organs, Brouhard explained.

AMR is working with the Modesto Regional Fire Authority and Mountain-Valley Emergency Medical Services Agency on the Stanislaus Heart Rescue Project. Since it was launched in February with an $18,000 grant from Medtronic Corp., almost 250 people have been trained in compression-only CPR.

The first-year goal is for 2,000 to acquire the skill.

The project is preparing to run about 100 people per hour through free classes, scheduled from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday in the Family Life Pavilion at CrossPoint Community Church, 1325 12th St. in downtown Modesto. Participants will watch a video and spend about 15 minutes learning to perform compressions on mannequins.

These are not certification classes, and there's no test, Brouhard said. People can walk in, learn the technique and leave.

The Modesto Regional Fire Authority will hold classes Wednesday at its stations at 1505 Blue Gum Ave. and 148 Imperial Ave. in Modesto and 4820 Salida Blvd. in Salida. In addition to classes in English, Spanish-speaking trainers will be available at the Imperial Avenue and Salida fire stations.

Participants will learn the three C's: Check the victim, call 911 and compress the chest by pushing hard and fast. Anyone, including families and children, can sign up for the regional authority classes at 12:15, 3:15 and 7:15 p.m. by calling (209) 552-3600.

The regional authority said that almost 90 percent of people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest die before reaching a hospital. Most life- threatening episodes occur at home.

Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at or (209) 578-2321.

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