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People who took to the streets of Carytown for a summer stroll Thursday afternoon may have caught an unusual surprise.

Richmond Ambulance Authority and the American Heart Association hosted a pop-up CPR training event on Cary Street. Emergency medical technicians and other medical professionals gave passersby a speedy lesson on the life-saving technique.

Harold Mayfield with Richmond Ambulance Authority is a trained EMT. He said disaster can strike at any moment and it’s important everyday citizens are equipped with enough knowledge about emergency response procedures, like CPR, to be able to tend to a victim while trained medical experts are on the way.

Pedestrians in Carytown learn CPR in an event hosted by Richmond Ambulance Authority and the American Heart Association. Photo courtesy of Mark Tenia.

“Nine times out of ten, CPR, you’re going to have to do it. It’s not going to be in the hospital,” Mayfield said.

CPR guidelines traditionally include a mouth-to-mouth element to the process. Mayfield said that in an effort to make the technique more accessible and doable for the average person, they now teach a “hands-only” approach, focusing on chest compressions.

Representatives at the pop-up event say when it comes to raising awareness and preparing members of the public for emergency response scenarios, every step forward makes a difference.

“One person at a time,” Mayfield said. “If we take one person at a time, if they learn it, and they want to excel in it — or even have a better understanding — that is helping. One person could possibly save multiple people just by knowing [CPR].”