Las Vegas firefighters lead the way in CPR training

Las Vegas firefighters continue to spread lifesaving cheer in what can literally be described as a heart-warming style.

In an effort to increase the cardiac arrest survival rate in Southern Nevada, members of the department have volunteered to teach hands-only CPR to city residents. In association with the local office of the American Red Cross, they have instructed approximately 1,000 civilians since May in the simple lifesaving technique, Las Vegas Firefighters Association president Scott Johnson says.

The compression-only technique is designed to eliminate the anxiety associated with providing mouth-to-mouth to a stranger. With time of the essence, proceeding directly to compressions for the few minutes it takes for firefighter paramedics to arrive on the scene can save a life and preserve brain function.

The instruction is free, takes only a few minutes and is available to all Las Vegas residents.

“We’re hoping, of course, to reach thousands more people if we can,” Johnson says . “People realize they can learn this compression-only CPR in about 15 minutes. It’s not a difficult skill. … We’re trying to remove some of the fears.”

Of course, there’s also a related smartphone application associated with this lifesaving effort. It’s called Pulse Point. Las Vegas Fire Chief William McDonald brought the idea with him from his previous duty in San Jose, Calif. In brief, the app notifies those trained in the use of CPR and the operation of the Automatic External Defibrillator when they are within 200 yards of a cardiac emergency that has been called into the fire department. It also locates the nearest AED machine.

With increased compression-only CPR instruction and Pulse Point, Johnson says the community’s 25-percent cardiac survival rate — already far higher than the national average — might conceivably reach 50 percent one day.

For more information on the free CPR instruction, call 300-3615.

CHRISTMAS CHEER: Families with children suffering from cancer found reason to smile last Saturday at the Discovery Children’s Museum. More than 200 people were treated to a holiday part by the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada. The event was catered by Three Square Food Bank.

For parents and kids going through the fight of their lives, such moments are like a temporary ceasefire in a long battle.

SARNO TALK: Jay Sarno was a legendary Las Vegas casino promoter, and David G. Schwartz captures his incredible spirit in the just-released biography “Grandissimo.”

Schwartz, director of UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research, will sign copies of the book from noon to 4 p.m. today at the Mob Museum downtown. He will return to the museum at 1 p.m. Saturday for a talk about Sarno, the creative mind behind Circus Circus and Caesars Palace.

CAMPBELL, COP: Before controversy dogged Metro veteran Jimmy Campbell, who died recently, he was known as one of the gutsiest undercover cops in the department. There was little he wouldn’t do to make a collar, and he put himself in harm’s way many times chasing bad guys. His friends will remember him that way.

ON THE BOULEVARD: Once again the folks at Walker Furniture have come through with generous gifts for local families in need. This year, they are doing so with a heavy heart after losing a member of their own family.

BOULEVARD II: Southern Nevada Water Authority boss Pat Mulroy’s impending departure continues to spark interest by qualified candidates. Whoever gets the job will have challenging days ahead in an increasingly political atmosphere. … Conservative firebrand Chuck Muth isn’t giving up on his plan to have a Nevada mountain peak named after President Ronald Reagan. … Gov. Brian Sandoval, without a challenger for miles, enjoyed a quiet but successful fundraiser recently in California.

Have an item for Bard of the Boulevard? Email comments and contributions to jsmith@reviewjournal.com or call (702) 383-0295.