Even those who have never taken a Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) class probably know a little about it.

A person collapses and goes into cardiac arrest, they aren’t breathing and after calling 911, a series of compressions to the chest and short breaths through the mouth can be largely beneficial to the outcome of the patient.

What many don’t know is the new developments that have taken place over the past few years.

For example, Bennii Shore, CPR instructor and paramedic with the Zionsville Fire Department (ZFD), said breathing for the person in need is not as beneficial as compressions. With this updated information, citizens can receive CPR certification for a hands-only CPR technique.

“We don’t want people to put their lives in danger [if breathing for a stranger] and the results aren’t that different,” Shore said. “Having good circulation to the heart is actually more beneficial than stopping that process for breaths.”

Kerry O’Haver, EMS manager with the ZFD, said professionals are rethinking cardiac arrest management in the field.

“Hands-only CPR is so vitally important for the success of the patient, it can’t be overestimated,” O’Haver said. “Absolutely nothing else we do will trump compressions. You create pressure with compressions and you’re pumping blood to the heart. When you stop to give two breaths, the pressure goes away and it takes that much more work to build it back up.”

Of course, on an emergency run, medical personnel have the benefit of more than one person assisting and special equipment to manage all of the necessary protocol, but if you’re on your own, compressions alone will greatly benefit.

On every emergency call, there is one paramedic with the sole focus of starting CPR as quickly as possible.

Once the hands-on assistance begins or is taken over by professionals , they also have a device called the Lucas, an automated compression machine, and other equipment to effectively clear airways and give oxygen to the patient.

“We have monitors that will do everything but balance your checkbook,” O’Haver said. “We’ve learned things like keeping the head elevated allows the blood to continue moving. When we combine keeping the head up, continuous CPR with the Lucas or by hand, and using medications in a certain way, we see a return of spontaneous circulation.”

The progress made through research and development are making successful outcomes more likely and certainly calling 911 is the first line of defense in order to utilize the equipment made for these types of rescues.

However, studies show simply earning CPR certification can go a long way toward protecting loved ones and others.

For every one minute a person in cardiac arrest doesn’t receive CPR, their chance of survival decreases by 10 percent. That’s why bystander support is crucial.

“Just in the past three weeks, we’ve had a middle-aged gentleman who had CPR started right away and he walked out of the hospital,” O’Haver said. “Another young man collapsed and CPR was started right away. He also survived and walked out of the hospital. Neither have any neurological long-term issues.”

Shore teaches monthly, Saturday morning CPR classes, open to the public. She’s also willing to add additional classes if the interest is there.

“Some people are required to have CPR certification, like teachers, preschool employees, healthcare staff and even some in rehabilitation or the fitness industry,” Shore said. “I have a lot of parents in Zionsville with pools that have contacted me and we have older children who are babysitting and want that CPR certification.”

A typical class is two to three hours, depending on whether participants are attending a CPR only course or CPR and First Aid.

Shore said the format consists of lecture time and then hands-on time and rotating back and forth. She’s able to walk around and help participants with skills and make sure everyone understands the process.

“It’s a good opportunity to have the certification and hope you never have to use it,” she said. “I think many of my class participants are being proactive, but I have taught classes for a group that experienced a tragedy and no one there knew CPR.”

If nothing else, knowing what to do brings a sense of confidence and security to those who are certified.

“The biggest take away is to call 911 first,” Shore said. “We often wait until the situation is an emergency. You noticed something wasn’t right, you spent time trying to talk them into going to the ER, but now they’ve collapsed. Call us first. I don’t mind getting up in the middle of the night, that’s what I’m here for.”

The monthly CPR classes offered by the ZFD run from 8 to 11 a.m. at Zionsville Town Hall, 1100 W. Oak St. For more information or to register, visit the website at http://zionsville-in.gov/251/CPR-Classes. The course fee is $50 per person.

Shore is also available to host a class at your church, business or another community location.

In addition, she’s working with Claire Haughton, CHES public health educator with the Boone County Health Department, to combine classes and/or encourage the public to attend Haughton’s class regarding Narcan. Those that take Haughton’s class can receive free Narcan after attending – just another way to be prepared in the event of an emergency.

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