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National lifesaving efforts alive in Hudson

One million.

That's how many people the American Heart Association wants to learn CPR in June in support of National Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Automated External Defibrillator Awareness Week June 1-7.

During sudden cardiac arrest, a heart-related emergency, every second counts. Survival often depends on the immediate CPR or AED help from bystanders.

Unfortunately, less than one-third of those people who experience a cardiac arrest at home, work or in a public location get the help needed. Most bystanders are worried that they might do something wrong or make things worse. The American Heart Association urges people not to be afraid and emphasizes that their actions can only help.

There is a great need for more CPR and AED training. Passing of the National CPR and AED resolution last year signified the importance of making lifesaving training a national effort. The shared vision is for all Americans to be within four minutes of an AED device and someone trained to use it.

Local activity

On a local level, 30 Hudson Middle and High School students recently completed their HeartSaver CPR in Schools and CPR Anytime Facilitator Training, as part of the Heart2Heart program.

"This was not an ordinary CPR class," said Karen Hansen of Hudson Hsopital. "These students had volunteered to become peer training facilitators and Heart2Heart teen program ambassadors, eager to learn how to save a life and teach others.

"It wasn't long before they realized sudden cardiac arrest often happens close to home - a person collapses, loses consciousness and dies. How quickly these students respond can mean the difference between life and death and knowing CPR and how to use an AED - that lifesaving shock to the heart - are critical for survival."

For Carl Schullo, a high school junior who participated, the training experience was an opportunity to learn an important life skill, one that he could teach others.

"I love to teach people, especially about important things like CPR," said Schullo. "I get the satisfaction of knowing that I can make a difference in someone's life. You never know when you will need to use CPR or an AED."

There are many benefits to using student peer training facilitators.

"Not only are other students more receptive or comfortable when a peer is involved, learning is fun - and with friends," Hansen said. "Older students are great role models for the younger ones and are given the opportunity to develop leadership skills."

Jack Boylan, an eighth-grader at Hudson Middle School and a member of Boy Scout Troop 140, assisted Diane Wetzstein, Heart2Heart CPR coordinator, in the CPR Anytime training of 140 sixth-graders in Tim Scharfenberg's health classes this month.

"It was a blast," Boylan said. "I hope I can do more of this in the future. It's important for kids to learn CPR, to be prepared in case they ever need to use it."

Students were asked to take home their training kits, including an inflatable manikin and instructional DVD, and train at least two others to reinforce what they had just learned. Interested teens are encouraged to visit the Heart2Heart Web site for training information and teen referral contest details. Information is also available on Facebook.

Heart2Heart offers many ways to become CPR trained. All classes are $10/person ($65 value) through Aug. 31 because of grant funding received.

Classes available

In recognition of National CPR/AED Awareness Week, Heart2Heart is offering the following education and training events during the month of June at the Community Education Center, 901 Dominion Drive. For more information, call (715) 531-6588 or visit

  • Free health seminar: AED Education for the Community. Attend this hands-on presentation to learn and become familiar with automated external defibrillators, the lifesaving medical equipment for heart-related emergencies; June 2 and June 4, 10-11:30 a.m. No pre-registration required.
  • HeartSaver AED/CPR Class (for certification). Learn the basic techniques of adult, child and infant CPR, first aid for choking and how to use an AED; Saturday, June 6, 8 a.m. to noon. $10/person, pre-registration required.
  • Free CPR Anytime Community Training Event (non-certification), for families, friends and the general public - those who would most likely never attend a traditional CPR course - to learn the core skills of CPR using their own personal training kit; Saturday, June 13, sessions offered on the hour from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (last session begins at 2 p.m.), no pre-registration required. Arrive early to sign in. Walk-ins welcome.

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