Cheryl Burja’s mother is 98-years-old. In case of an emergency, she wants to have the neccassary tools to handle any situation.
For this reason, Burja was one of the participants in the Hands-Only CPR training at the Ocala Regional Medical Center on Sept. 28.
“That’s always in the back of my mind, that if I’m the one that’s in charge of taking care of her, then CPR is something that I definitely need to know,” Burja, a Marion County resident, said.
In partnership with the American Heart Association, the Florida Department of Health in Marion County is one of 67 counties holding free CPR training in celebration of World Heart Day on Sept. 29.
“I would recommend it to anyone in the community,” Burja said. “You don’t have to be a healthcare professional to know how to do CPR.”
Research has shown that, in certain cases, hands-only CPR is more effective than mouth-to-mouth resuscitation because it keeps the blood flow going instead of pausing to take breaths during mouth-to-mouth CPR, according to Craig Ackerman, public information officer at the Florida Department of Health in Marion County.
According to guidelines published by the American Heart Association, a majority of bystanders said panic was the major obstacle in performing CPR.
The simpler, hands-only CPR technique may help bystanders overcome panic and hesitation before acting, according to the American Heart Association.
“We need to focus on making [CPR training] a simple process so that everyone will do it,” said Herman Hale, director of nursing at the Florida Department of Health in Marion County. “If a dispatcher can train someone over the phone, then we can definitely in 10 minutes train someone how to do it live.”
All 67 county health departments in the state are going to hold a Hands-Only CPR event on Sept. 29 to raise awareness for heart disease and shed light on how the technique can double or even triple the survival rate of a victim of cardiac arrest, according to the American Heart Association.
“The fact is, the more people in a community who learn how to do the very simple technique of Hands-Free CPR, the life saving rates for those who suffer cardiac arrest increase dramatically,” Ackerman said.
“We’re counting on the ability to do it for a couple of days and get this life-saving technique into the community,” said Ackerman.