National CPR and AED Awareness Week highlights training importance

By Eric Alves, Regional Communications Specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio

June 5, 2019- Today, people are used to seeing online news articles mentioning the tongue-and-cheek national holiday being celebrated that day, like National Cheese Pizza Day on September 7, National Old Stuff Day on March 2 or National Lipstick Day on July 29. Usually when we learn about these random celebrations, we often roll our eyes or chuckle and move on, but we often can miss when a day or week of true importance is upon us.

This week, the United States is celebrating National CPR and AED Awareness Week. In 2007, understanding the importance of proper CPR and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training and usage to save the lives of Americans, Congress unanimously passed a resolution making June 1-7 a yearly week of awareness.

Lifeguarding Manual 2012

The American Red Cross offers many opportunities to gain training in these valuable lifesaving skills. Visit www.redcross.org/take-a-class to find in-person, online and simulated classes near you.

If you opt for in-person training, you will have the opportunity to practice your new skills on the BigRed™ LightSaving Manikin. The state of the art manikin will increase a student’s confidence that they can save a life in emergency situations, as it is equipped with three interrelated sets of lights that provide immediate feedback to students on how they are performing CPR. Only the proper technique will show the success of blood circulating from the heart to the brain which improves a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.

CPR Classroom Stock Video and Photography Shoot 2018

Sharon Nicastro of Independence, Ohio is an individual who is familiar with Red Cross training and the importance of every person being prepared to help save a life.

Sharon has been a Red Cross CPR and first aid instructor in Northeast Ohio for 28 years. In fact, her role as a Red Cross instructor and seeing firsthand the impact it has on saving lives, led her to becoming an EMT.

For those who want to be CPR and AED trained but are on the fence because they are concerned it will have no impact on saving a life, Sharon has a few words of encouragement.

“It is important for people to learn CPR because bystanders can recognize that someone is suffering a cardiac emergency, call 9-1-1, perform CPR, and use an AED in the minutes before EMS arrives,” stated Sharon. “The care provided in those few minutes is just as critical as the care provided by EMS and hospital personnel. Those few minutes can mean the difference between life and death.”

Sharon

Sharon Nicastro

Jan and John Durkalski’s story highlights Sharon’s point.

Jan and John were on a run together when John suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and collapsed. Jan used her recent CPR training to help save her husband’s life.

Watch the below video to learn more about the Durkalski’s story and the importance of CPR/AED training:

You can download the free Red Cross First Aid App which puts instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies, including sudden cardiac arrest, at your fingertips. Download by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at redcross.org/apps.

Join the Red Cross in celebrating National CPR and AED Awareness Week by signing up for a training class today!

Wife Performs CPR, Saves Husband’s Life

“You can’t leave me here.  I’m too young to be a widow. You can’t go,” Jan Durkalski pleaded.  Her husband John had just collapsed during a Sunday morning run and was struggling to breath.

Then, his breathing stopped.  So did his heart.

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John and Jan Durkalski

Jan and John were on a run together in the Cleveland Metroparks when John suffered sudden cardiac arrest and collapsed.  Jan had just renewed her cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification the day before, and the instructions were fresh in her mind when she began CPR on John.

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Jan and John Durkalski point to the spot where John collapsed during a run on January 22, 2017

“I never had to do live CPR before.  I just did it in class,” Jan explained.  “I walked away thinking ‘I’ll never have to do this.’ ”

Hear Jan and John tell the story in their own words by watching the video on our YouTube Channel.

It’s National CPR/AED Awareness Week and we are urging everyone to get trained on how to perform CPR and how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) so they can help during an emergency situation.

Many people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest die before getting to a hospital so every second counts. For every minute without defibrillation, a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s chance of surviving drops. It is critical for as many people as possible to be trained to perform CPR and know how to use an AED until advanced help arrives.

Interested in getting trained? Find information on Red Cross classes here. Last year, nearly 50,000 people in Northeast Ohio enrolled in Red Cross first aid/CPR/AED classes.

“Sudden cardiac arrest claims the lives of thousands of people in this country every year,” said Mike Parks, Regional CEO. “National CPR/AED Awareness Week is the perfect time for people to get trained and help increase a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.”

John DurIMG_4382kalski not only survived, he is thriving.  He ran the 10K race at the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon in May, and plans to continue running. “40 years and one heart attack.  Why quit now?”

You can download the free Red Cross First Aid App which puts instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies, including sudden cardiac arrest, at your fingertips. Download by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at redcross.org/apps.