Red Cross pushes to teach CPR to 5 million

Published 3:55 pm Saturday, April 9, 2011

A participant in a recent Citizen CPR training by the Suffolk chapter of the American Red Cross learns how to properly perform chest compressions on a training dummy. The Red Cross nationwide aims to teach hands-only CPR to five million people.

The Suffolk chapter of the American Red Cross is hosting Citizen CPR training for the community as part of a nationwide initiative to educate five million people on the procedure by the end of the year.

Lisa Harrell, the health and safety director for Suffolk’s Red Cross chapter, said the training program is perfect for any person or group interested in leaning how to respond to an emergency.

Instructors lead 30-minute sessions that teach attendees hands-only CPR to be used if someone collapses suddenly.

Email newsletter signup

The Suffolk Red Cross has done three sessions, the last of which took place March 30 at the QVC distribution center for 87 employees.

Students will learn how to respond to the emergency by learning to check if the victim is unconscious and then administer chest compressions after they have called 911.

“Once they leave the 30-minute training session, they will be confident to give chest compressions,” Harrell said.

Students are given compression tool kits, which include a diagram of a chest and a picture that helps measure how deeply they press.

Harrell said the depth of the compressions is the number one concern for most students at the sessions.

“They were very receptive to (the class), but they were concerned about doing the compressions correctly,” she said.

There are different depths for adults, children and infants, but there are no variations if the victim is elderly or overweight, she said.

The Citizen CPR classes are part of a nationwide plan by the American Red Cross to reach more people and educate them on how to respond more quickly if someone collapses.

The training teaches hands-only CPR in order to make the experience less off-putting for people, helping them respond to victims more quickly, Harrell said.

“We want to give the citizens an opportunity to feel less reluctant to help a victim that has suddenly collapsed,” she said.

The training sessions do not replace full CPR certifications, but Harrell said she hopes the classes will encourage more people to take the full course and get certified.

The Citizen CPR classes are free of charge, and there is no limit to the number of people in a class. However, Harrell said they do try to keep a ratio of one instructor to 20 students.

The chapter offers the training sessions to any organization, club or group that wants them, Harrell said.

“We want to give back to our community; that’s what it’s all about,” she said.

If an organization cannot go to the Red Cross, Harrell said they will come to you.

“All it takes is just a phone call,” she said.

For more information or to schedule a training, call the Suffolk Chapter of the American Red Cross at 539-6645.