CPR training day offers residents chance to save lives

Calling 911 always necessary in emergencies, fire engineer, volunteer say
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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An upcoming event could help local residents save lives, and one volunteer said it has already helped him save one. The American Red Cross Capital Region Chapter is hosting CPR Saturday Feb. 26 at William Jessup University in Rocklin. Volunteers at the day-long event will teach community members cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillation (AED) skills, according to Trista Jensen, spokeswoman for the American Red Cross. Those who participate in the event will complete a three-and-a-half hour training session, including adult CPR and AED training, and will then receive a Red Cross two-year certification, Jensen said. Heath Wakelee, an Auburn Red Cross volunteer, said there is one very good reason for taking this kind of training. “It can save lives,” Wakelee said. “You just never know when you are going to need this skill. There is not going to be enough time to learn it (in the moment), you need to learn it beforehand.” Wakelee said the training not only teaches people how to perform CPR on others, but also shows someone how to save their own life in an emergency situation. “It’s not just CPR we teach,” Wakelee said. “We also teach someone how to recover from choking. The two most common things to choke on are steak or a hot dog.” If someone is choking and they are not alone, a helper can administer five back blows to try to dislodge the food. If that doesn’t work, the helper or the person choking can perform five belly thrusts, Wakelee said. “The target basically is their belly button,” Wakelee said. “The intent is to get the air into their lungs to push the object out of the throat.” Although the Red Cross always encourages calling 911, these two actions, commonly known as the Heimlich Maneuver, are usually very successful if done correctly, Wakelee said. “Most of the time by the time the ambulance arrives the person is eating dessert,” he said. Wakelee said he was part of a two-person CPR team that saved a man from either death or brain damage. “It was about three years ago when I was at a company pool party,” he said. “We had a drowning. We had to pull the person out of the pool and resuscitate them, and fortunately, we were successful. I was doing chest compressions and the other person was doing rescue breaths. It took the ambulance about six minutes to arrive. The person would have either died or had some type of brain damage from lack of oxygen for that five or six minutes.” Being able to spot symptoms and do something about them while an ambulance is on the way is important, said Bebe Pedicini, a registered nurse and emergency room manager at Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital. “Ambulances always have a time that they need to get somewhere,” Pedicini said. “You are always going to have a few minutes, and to be helpless and not be able to do something is a horrible feeling. Patients who can have that immediate response have a much stronger chance of recovery.” The classes will also train participants in the use of AED paddles, Wakelee said. Wakelee said most people who don’t recover after CPR is administered are having a heart condition where the heart is fibrillating, or simply vibrating instead of pumping. “The intent of the AED, the shock, is to stop the heart … with the hope when it restarts it will come back in a normal rhythm,” he said. Pedicini said AED skills are just as important as CPR skills. “Most public areas have that tool, and it shouldn’t be feared, it should be used,” Pedicini said. Lucas Rogers, an Auburn Fire Department engineer, said the frequency with which the department uses CPR varies. “I have been on as many as three CPRs in one day,” Rogers said. “From one week we could go on one and another week we could go on none.” Rogers said it’s important for citizens to know CPR, but the fire department always asks residents to call 911 in emergencies so it can respond quickly. “You never know where or when there is going to be an emergency like that,” he said. “The sooner we start CPR and start pushing the blood to the vital organs, the heart and the brain, the better chance the patient has of survival.” According to Jensen, Red Cross volunteers hope to train up to 750 people at CPR Saturday. Residents can sign up for one of five class times for a $10 fee. Those who attend will receive a keychain breathing barrier for performing emergency rescue breaths. Wakelee said the Red Cross is now encouraging hands-only CPR for those who aren’t comfortable with giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. “Because many people are reluctant to give rescue breaths, they are reluctant to do anything,” he said. “So, the goal with hands-only CPR is for people to do something.” Reach Bridget Jones at ------------------------------------------------------ CPR Saturday What: A training class for citizens to learn CPR and AED skills. When: Feb. 26 Class times: 7:30 a.m., 9:15 a.m., 11 a.m., 12:45 p.m. or 2:15 p.m. Where: William Jessup University, 333 Sunset Blvd., Rocklin Age requirement: 15 years old and up Cost: $10 To sign up: Visit, scroll to bottom of page to Upcoming Events, click on CPR Saturday (Placer County), Call (866) 656-9272 or (530) 885-9392