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Fire district taking signups for free CPR class

By Staff | Apr 23, 2019

Fire Chief Jeff Pawul

The Captiva Island Fire Control District is offering a CPR certification course for the public.

According to the American Heart Association, over 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of the hospital each year and about 90 percent of people who experience one die. Especially if administered immediately after a cardiac arrest, cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.

Unfortunately, only about 46 percent of people who experience an out-of-hospital incident get the immediate help that they need before first responders can arrive. But nearly 45 percent of cardiac arrest victims survived when a bystander administered CPR based on data from 2014, the AHA reported.

“The majority of cardiac arrest events happen in the home and early CPR can dramatically improve your chances of surviving,” Captiva Fire Chief Jeff Pawul said. “Learning CPR and being able to effectively perform it could ultimately save the life of a family member, friend or even a co-worker.”

On May 24, the public will have a chance to learn what to do in such an emergency during a free course hosted by the district. EMS Coordinator Lt. Mike Knight said it will be a first for them.

“It’s been something we’ve been looking into and trying to get the community involved,” he said.

The four-hour program is certified through the American Heart Association.

Knight explained that the course will entail a video lecture and classroom instruction, combined with hands-on training. The district recently received new top-of-the-line mannequins for people to use.

The material will cover adult, child and pediatric CPR.

“They’re going to learn how to do chest compressions, how to open the airway, how to give a rescue breath, if needed,” he said. “How to keep the heart pumping until life support – us – arrives.”

Knight noted that keeping the heart pumping helps to keep the blood circulating.

“Early CPR increases the chance of survival astronomically,” he said.

Participants will learn when and how to use an automated external defibrillator or AED.

“We’ll go over choking, as well,” Knight said.

Upon completion of the course, participants will receive a AHA CPR certification card, along with literature on what was covered for use as a quick reference guide or as refresher information.

“They’ll get a booklet to take home with them,” he said.

Since it is the first course offered, staff will also provide an overview of the district and its services.

The course is open to adults, plus ages 16 and older with a parent’s consent.

“A minor would have to have parent authorization,” Knight said.

The public is invited to sign up and take part.

“CPR is easy to learn and anyone can do it, so we encourage our residents to come to the class and learn a new skill or receive a refresher course,” Pawul said.

For more information or to register, contact the station at 239-472-9494.

Those unable to attend the May course can request the district to schedule another one.

The Captiva Island Fire Control District is at 14981 Captiva Drive.