August 25, 2011
Firefighters teach CPR to help life-saving efforts
Importance of speedy action stressed to class participants
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cortland emergency responder David Jensen, standing, oversees a CPR class with students Tanis Bobnick, left, and Kyle Bush, who are learning the proper technique to treat a cardiac arrest victim, at the Wheeler Ave. armory Wednesday. At right, Cortland volunteer firefighter Vince Minnella practices the technique.
Life and death emergencies can happen any time, making it critical to know how to help until rescuers arrive, Cortland Fire Capt. David Jensen said Wednesday during the fire department’s first local CPR training class.
The fire department received a $25,000 federal grant to fund a series of CPR classes throughout the next year at the city-owned former Armory on Wheeler Avenue.
The eight participants, youths and adults, said Wednesday they hope to put their training to good use one day.
Tanis Bobnick, a 17-year-old from Dryden, volunteers at Cortland Regional Medical Center and wants to become an emergency paramedic. Karri Kabanuk and her friend Becky Moran are licensed child day care providers in Cortland and need CPR certification to do their jobs.
“I decided it would be a good idea to take a CPR course, at least so I know how to save someone’s life,” Bobnick said. “I’ve seen CPR performed on my grandfather. Unfortunately it didn’t work, and that’s why I’m here — so I can learn to do it the proper way.”
Most emergencies happen in the home, and even after calling 911, it can take up to three minutes for rescuers to arrive, Jensen said.
“What we want you to do is to have the ability to act and the courage to act in an emergency,” Jensen told the CPR class.
Brain death begins four to five minutes after the heart stops beating, Jensen said. CPR helps by keeping blood and oxygen circulating until an automated external defibrillator or other treatments can be started by first responders, he said.
Jensen walked the trainees through procedure for compressions and mouth-to-mouth, showing the proper rhythm to follow when performing CPR. An important first step for effective CPR is to make sure the victim is on solid, flat ground, Jensen said.
Victims could suffer minor bumps and bruises during CPR, but saving their lives is more important, Jensen added.
“I don’t care if they have a big goose egg on the back of their head after you do CPR — that’s all fixable,” he said.
Moran, who brought her 13-year-old daughter Erica along for CPR training, said neither she nor Kabanuk have “thankfully” ever been in a situation where CPR would have been needed. Being CPR certified is mandatory in the state for day care providers, they said.
At the end of the three-hour course, trainees got certified in CPR through the American Heart Association. The certification is good for two years and can be renewed.
Cortland Fire Capt. Mike Ten Kate wrote the grant proposal for the CPR program and the money was handed out through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security.
The fire department’s class is free and open to anyone age 12 or older. The American Red Cross also holds CPR training classes in the area. The fire department’s goal is to train 20 to 30 people a month. The next CPR class is 6:30 p.m. Sept. 1.
“The more people we can train, the more people will be prepared to make a difference,” Jensen said.
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