Cranberry EMS, citizens form effective team

| Wednesday, June 4, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

While the Cranberry EMS might grade well around the state and nation, they say the credit for what they're able to do often starts with quick-thinking, skilled citizens.

Without the initial assistance of concerned citizens for others, Cranberry EMS Deputy Director Ted Fessides said the ambulance company's above-average marks for resuscitation and survival wouldn't be possible.

Cranberry bystanders to cardiac arrests were more than 6-percent more likely to initiate CPR than bystanders nationally.

“It's an invaluable resource, and that's why we need more people trained to recognize when something is wrong and what to do,” Fessides said. “The more people we train, the more lives we'll save.”

A community effort to resuscitate a Cranberry man occurred last July when Chuck Weintraub's former foster dog and multiple neighbors worked together to keep him alive.

Weintraub, 59, was cutting his grass with his three dogs outside when he collapsed due to a malfunctioning anomaly in the brainstem that controls the lungs.

Cloe, his introverted foster dog who has since been adopted by the Rauenwinter family of Brookline, ran 400 yards down Weintraub's drive to Mike Brock's home. Cloe then coaxed Brock and his daughter, Melissa, to Weintraub.

Brock, of Cranberry, began chest compressions and told Melissa to run home and have his wife, Michele, call 911. Another neighbor, Charleen Deneen, who is a registered nurse, heard Melissa and went to the scene. Deneen performed CPR until the Cranberry EMS arrived.

“If not for Cloe going to Mike Brock, if not for Mike doing chest compressions, if not for them calling out for help for 911, if not for Charleen doing CPR, Cranberry EMS never would have got there with enough time,” said Weintraub. “I wouldn't be around.”

Fessides said that trained citizens are invaluable to keeping a fallen person's chances of survival up.

“After 6 minutes, every minute after your chances of survival decrease by 10 percent, and by the time you get to 15 minutes your chances are nil to none,” Fessides said.

Cranberry residents who wish to be trained to recognize symptoms of cardiac arrest and administer CPR may take classes from the Cranberry EMS in the township's municipal building. The next training date is June 21, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The cost of the class is $40, which includes a free face shield. Attendees must be at least 12 years old and be able to get on the floor.

Residents can email or call the station at 724-776-4480 ext. 1911 to reserve a spot.

Shawn Annarelli is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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