A crowd of people sat in a conference room at the Summerlin Library on June 18 for Heart Health and Hands Only CPR, a free class aimed at teaching people about heart health and how to perform hands-only CPR in the event of an emergency.
Leslie Shaffer, a paramedic with AMR, led the class and discussed signs of heart attacks and ways for onlookers to respond. The classes are a joint effort between AMR and MedicWest to raise public awareness, Shaffer said.
“We would rather you do something than nothing, which is why we stress doing basic chest compressions,” Shaffer said. “Many people fear hurting the person, but as soon as someone gets their hand on a chest, the person’s chance of survival increases 7 percent every minute. We’re trying to make our public aware of how they can get involved. Call 911 first and then start compressions.”
Tim Williams, 67, of Summerlin said the class taught him how to recognize the warning signs of a heart attack and how to respond quickly.
“I don’t ever want to arrive on a scene and not know what to do,” Williams said. “But I also want to do the right thing. I don’t want to jump in there and do something stupid. I learned that I am enabled; it’s OK to jump in and jump in with authority until first responders get to the scene. What’s scary is not knowing what to do. That to me is the most horrifying thing.”
The classes are held once a month at varying locations, Shaffer said.
“We want to stress that people who attend only learn about heart health and CPR,” Shaffer said. “They don’t get a certification from this class, as they can from some of our others. We just want the public to be aware of ways they can help out.”
The majority of the classes are held at the Summerlin Library, Shaffer said. Those interested in attending upcoming classes can email Shaffer at email@example.com or visit the AMR Facebook page .