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Free, hands-only CPR classes offered

There was a time when those who learned cardiopulmonary resuscitation – CPR – had to be prepared to alternate between chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, counting all the while.

But the standard has changed, and three local agencies are teaming up to teach the new methods, Amy Herrington, director of emergency medicine at Andalusia Regional Hospital said.

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“The American Heart Association says studies have shown if the public at large does hands-only CPR and keeps the blood pumping, it’s better than stopping and starting” as in the old method,” Herrington said. “If you don’t do CPR on a regular basis, it’s hard to find the right spot. You end up with more hands-off time, and lower the probably of having a good outcome.

“We really promote hands-only methods now,” she said.

Next weekend, ARH is teaming up with LBW Community College and Advanced EMS to teach the hands-only method. Free classes are set at 8 a.m. and at 10 a.m. at the Wilbur Williams Law Enforcement Center on Sat., Oct. 17.

“This is a friends and family class,” she said. “This is not a certification class for health care providers. This class teaches hands-only CPR for the adult, child and the infant. It also includes how to relieve choking in all of those.” Participants also will learn how to use automated external defibrillators. An AED is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm and can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm. AEDs are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest, a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating.

“All of the schools have AEDs, and several shopping areas have them,” Herrington said. “I know JC Penney has them.”

Class participants will receive a book to take home, and also a participation card.

Herrington said the class is great for teens who babysit, especially if they babysit small children.

“Choking one of those things you need to be prepared for,” she said. “It’s a good class to take, just so you can respond in an emergency if one of your friends has an event.”

Pre-registration for the free class is not required, but Herrington said sponsors would appreciate hearing from those who plan to participate. To sign up, or for questions, contact Herrington at amy.herrington@lpnt.net or 428-7029.