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Learn new hands-only CPR for free

By: Kathy Maynard, Loomis News Correspondent
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Hand-free CPR Classes

What: New CPR technique using only hands, no breaths

Who: Loomis Fire Protection District

When: 7:30 and 7:45 p.m., every Thursdays starting Jan. 31

Where: 5840 Horseshoe Bar Road

Cost: Free

Reservations or information: 652-6858

The Loomis Fire Protection District wants to teach the community how to help heart attack victims without using mouth-to-mouth breathing.

Loomis Fire will offer free 15-minute classes to the public for hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) at 7:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. every Thursday, beginning Jan. 31, at the firehouse at 5840 Horseshoe Bar Road.

The new CPR technique is easy to learn and requires no full-day class or certification card.

“We want to get the word out that hands-only CPR can help save lives and makes it nice and easy for average citizens to do. The guidelines have been simplified so you no longer have to worry about checking for a pulse or doing mouth-to-mouth breathing,” said Daniel Justus, an engineer with Loomis Fire who will help teach the classes.

According to the American Heart Association, immediate CPR doubles or triples a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s chances of survival and recovery. But research shows that bystanders perform CPR less than one-third of the time, often due to panic, fear of doing it wrong or reluctance to give mouth-to-mouth breathing.

The Loomis Fire District is giving non-certified introductory classes, sponsored by Sutter Roseville Medical Center and the American Heart Association, to encourage more people to help when someone collapses or is non-responsive. Bystanders can simply call 911, then pushing hard and fast on the center of the victim’s chest until professional help arrives.

Justus said calling 911, then starting chest compressions are the first two steps in the Heart Association’s “Chain of Survival” for emergency cardiac care. Bystanders should continue chest compressions until professionals arrive to administer the next three steps. Those steps are rapid use of an Automatic External Defibrillator; advanced life support during transport in an ambulance and integrated post-cardiac care in a hospital.

Justus said because someone in cardiac arrest still has oxygenated blood in their body, immediate, uninterrupted, high-quality chest compressions can circulate enough oxygenated blood to the heart and brain to increase survival and recovery rates until more advanced care arrives.

“The American Heart Association changed their standards for the public because they found that the average person had trouble finding a pulse and wasted valuable time looking for one before starting compressions,” Justice said.

Also, stopping compressions frequently, such as to breathe into a victim’s mouth, diminished circulation and led to worse outcomes than continuous hands-only CPR, according to www.americanheart.org.

Each class attendee will practice CPR on a mannequin to learn proper hand placement. The will also learn how to press down hard and deep enough to compress the heart, then how to let it up so it can recoil, Justice said.

“The goal is to do 100 compressions a minute, the same tempo as the ‘Staying Alive’ disco song, and keep it up till help arrives,” he said.

Each class lasts about 15 minutes and upon completion, participants will receive a card to indicate they have learned hands-only CPR and remind them of the two steps to save a life in the chain of survival.

“It’s important to understand that this is a non-certified class for everyday citizens. Certification involves a completely different course and professionals have to be re-certified every two years because procedures change all the time,” Justus said.

The Fire District hopes to reach 500 members of the community, then offer classes to students at Del Oro and to the public during Thursday Night Familyfests in the summer, Justus said.

Loomis residents must reserve a spot in the hands-only CPR classes by calling 652-6858 by noon on the Tuesday before the class.