Learning Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is so critical in saving the life of a loved one that it is embedded in the Hill Country Memorial training program’s name: Family & Friends CPR.

Dawn Sparrow, HCM Health Educator, educates families and friends on how to perform CPR and First Aid.

“We teach people how to recognize when someone is in trouble, then how to handle it,” she said.

Most of that type of training comes in the First Aid portion. Lessons include how to treat burns, bites, and wounds, as well as recognizing the signs of choking, strokes, and heart attacks. CPR training addresses how to treat those situations.

CPR training now emphasizes “hands-only” techniques. While such sophisticated equipment as AEDs (automated external defibrillators) are now available in many public places, most CPR is done on family members in their homes. Few people have sophisticated life-saving equipment within reach.

“When people have this knowledge, they feel more empowered,” Sparrow said. “They know how to handle a situation, and what to do. That puts their fear at bay because now they feel empowered. That is the whole purpose of this CPR program.”

Administering CPR has become more streamlined over the years. In many cases, responders can dispense with supplying breaths, and rely solely on chest compressions between 100 and 120 beats per minute. Sparrow encourages individuals to find a song in that tempo they can use should they be in the position to help. The classic one is “Staying Alive” by the BeeGees.

“Save a life of someone you love” is not a hollow mantra. Recently a community member had trained her family in life-saving techniques herself experienced cardiac arrest in her home in the middle of the night. Her husband found her and followed all the recommended steps, calling 911, turning on the lights, unlocking the doors for emergency personnel, and beginning compressions. When first responders arrived, they took over.

By his fast response, her husband literally saved her life. It is an example that matches the goals of Family & Friends CPR.

“We know 80% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen at home,” Sparrow said. “So you are more likely to perform CPR on a loved one than on a stranger in a store. That is another reason people need to be trained on using hands-only techniques because it is more likely to save a loved one.”

Knowing how to handle the situation and get started increases the chance of survival dramatically. Every minute that passes equals a 10% drop in the chance of bringing a person back. Once past the 5-minute mark, the recovery line drops dramatically.

“Doing CPR immediately can double or triple the chance of surviving an event.”

For individuals not seeking certification, Sparrow can provide training at their homes, churches, or place of business. Part of the training can be accessed online, with in-person sessions provided for practice. For those requiring certification, Sparrow provides the entire course, training, practice, books, tests, and cards.

For details on attending or scheduling a Family & Friends training session, contact Dawn Sparrow at 830-997-1355 ext. 1508.