An eye-opening statistic from reporter Beth Burger's centerpiece story today in Accent: Health & Fitness:
About 450 people die each year in the three-county area of Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte because either somebody didn't know how to give CPR, or 911 was not dialed soon enough.
Learning to dial 911 immediately shouldn't be a problem for most of us. But CPR(cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) is a different deal. Most people are exposed to CPR training in school, then never have to use it as a practical application. If somebody suddenly needed help breathing, could you — would you — be able to help that person? Apparently, too many people could not.
"If more people knew CPR, 300 (of the 450) would have been saved,'' Bradenton Fire Department Firefighter and paramedic Dan Hedgeman told Burger.
A series of classes will begin this month at Manatee Memorial Hospital in hopes of teaching more people how to administer CPR. Details are here at the end of Burger's story.
People who are squeamish about mouth-to-mouth contact with a victim may be relieved that new guidelines from the American Heart Association recommend untrained people provide compressions rather than administer mouth-to-mouth.
But the training locally involves both compression and mouth-to-mouth. After all, a life might very well be on the line, and both firefighters and paramedics want us to be competent enough to provide emergency assistance until qualified personnel arrive.