Free CPR Training Event Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of CPR

The Richmond Ambulance Authority, Virginia Commonwealth University, the Richmond Technical Center and Health Educators, Inc. are offering free cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) classes on Monday, June 7 in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of CPR.  This is the first official event of the national CPR Across America movement, a grassroots effort that will sponsor a series of CPR training events in the United States.   The goal of CPR Across America’s 50th Anniversary Challenge is to train 10% of the population in CPR during the next two years.

“We are pleased the City of Richmond has been chosen to kick off the CPR Across America campaign and help bring attention to the 50th anniversary of this important, lifesaving technique” said Chip Decker, chief executive officer of the Richmond Ambulance Authority.  “CPR is a skill that is quick and easy to learn, and a fast and effective bystander response can often mean the difference between life and death.”

Anyone in the Richmond area is invited to attend these free, one-hour CPR classes that will be held on Monday, June 7, 2010 at the Richmond Technical Center located at 2020 Westwood Avenue.  Morning classes begin on the hour at 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.   The afternoon classes begin at 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.   Participants just need to show up.  No advanced registration is required.

“Our goal is to provide quality CPR training to as many people in the Richmond area as possible,” said Wayne Harbour, chief clinical officer of the Richmond Ambulance Authority.  “CPR significantly increases a victim’s chance of survival when provided immediately after cardiac arrest and the more citizens we can train to properly perform CPR, the better.”

Sudden cardiac arrest is most often caused by an abnormal heart rhythm called ventricular fibrillation (VF).  Cardiac arrest can also occur after the onset of a heart attack or as a result of electrocution or near drowning.

American Heart Association statistics show that about 80 percent of all out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in private residential settings, so being trained to perform CPR can mean the difference between life and death for a spouse, child or parent.   The data also shows that effective bystander CPR, provided immediately after cardiac arrest, can double a victim’s chance of survival because it helps maintain vital blood flow to the heart and brain and increases the amount of time that an electric shock from a defibrillator can be effective.    Brain death starts to occur four to six minutes after someone experiences cardiac arrest if no CPR and defibrillation occurs during that time.

“Bystander CPR can buy a victim the precious time needed for an ambulance to arrive,” said Decker. “Death from sudden cardiac arrest is not inevitable.  If more people knew CPR, more lives could be saved.”

For more information about these free CPR classes in Richmond, call 804-254-1128.

Following the Richmond kickoff to CPR Across America, mass CPR training programs  will take place in Philadelphia and throughout the Southwest this fall in hopes that every community in America will embrace the CPR challenge.

About the Richmond Ambulance Authority
In 1991, the Richmond City Council and the City Manager implemented an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system that placed the patient first and guaranteed its performance to the City’s residents.  Today, the Richmond Ambulance Authority responds to approximately 135 calls per day and transports, on average, 110 patients per day.  RAA’s emergency response times are among the fastest in the nation with ambulances on the scene of life threatening emergencies in less than 8 minutes and 59 seconds in more than 90% of all responses.  RAA is one of only 11 EMS agencies in the United States accredited by both the Commission on the Accreditation of Ambulance Services and the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch.  RAA is also a Commonwealth of Virginia Accredited Dispatch Center.