LANCASTER – Eight-year-old Alexa Gomez learned a valuable set of skills Saturday afternoon.
“I learned how to help other people, to save their lives,” Gomez said.
Gomez and several other children took part in a “Hands-Only” CPR Workshop at Lancaster City Park as part of the 6th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.
“We’re encouraging families and children to learn these techniques so that everybody in the home has some basic CPR skills,” said organizer Hannan Lopez.
The workshop consisted of American Medical Response employees demonstrating the American Heart Association’s Hands-Only CPR, and then giving participants the opportunity to practice the technique on mannequins.
“Most people are reluctant to do CPR because they don’t want to do the mouth-to-mouth,” Lopez said. “However, the American Heart Association has put out that what’s more important is to get the compressions going so we can keep that blood flowing until the ambulance or EMS arrives.”
To conduct hands-only CPR, you place the heel of your hand directly on the center of the victim’s chest, between the nipples, and the push down hard and fast at a rate of about 100 compressions a minute or about two per second. (View the video below)
A good rule of thumb is to pace the compressions to the beat of the classic disco song “Staying Alive”, Lopez said.
“There are over 400,000 sudden cardiac arrests in the nation a year, and unfortunately, about 89% of those people don’t survive,” Lopez said. “Many of the saves that we have had in the field, where we have gotten circulation and a pulse back, are the ones where we show up on scene and someone is doing CPR when we get there.”
The hands-only CPR workshop is not meant to replace full CPR training, which also covers choking emergencies, and participants did not receive a certification. However, the workshop was necessary to give learners the knowledge and ability to deliver basic immediate assistance until help arrives, organizers said.
Each participant was given an “Emergency Care Guide” to take home.
The AMR “Hands-Only” CPR workshop Saturday was one of more than 30 community service projects that took place throughout Lancaster Saturday for the 6th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.
The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President’s national call to service initiative, calling on Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to the most pressing national problems. Each year, Americans across the country service their neighbors and communities through thousands of commemorative projects.