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Red Cross puts CPR into citizens' hands

| Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, 12:02 a.m.
Louis B. Ruediger
Tessie Amaranto of the Red Cross uses a metronome to time compressions as she teaches CPR to a group of Farmers and Merchant Bank employees. Friday September 21, 2012 Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
Louis B. Ruediger
Farmers and Merchants Bank employees use a foam bus during a CPR class offered by the American Red Cross. Friday September 21, 2012 Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times

You never know what will mean the difference in a life or death situation, but knowing all you can is a good start.

The American Red Cross in Armstrong County has launched an initiative to train 1,000 area residents in hands-only—or “citizen”—CPR.

Farmers and Merchants Bank of Western Pa. is funding the program and employees at the Market Street location downtown were among the first to participate in the training during Friday's program kickoff.

Lauren Chapman, regional communications officer for the Red Cross, said citizen CPR is an essential skill everyone should learn.

“Full CPR combines rescue breaths with chest compressions and is the best option in some emergencies,” said Chapman. “Hands-only CPR involves just the compression component of CPR and is best used in emergencies where someone has seen another person suddenly collapse.”

During the 30-minute training sessions, participants will learn how to check for consciousness, report incidents to 911 and give continuous chest compressions.

Although Chapman stresses that citizen CPR isn't intended to substitute for a formal training course, it can be effective in caring for someone with no signs of life if the rescuer is unable, untrained or unwilling to perform full CPR.

“Studies have shown that being trained in hands-only CPR can make the lifesaving difference when someone suffers sudden cardiac arrest,” said Chapman.

“It can potentially double or triple a victim's chance of survival.”

Armstrong County residents, companies, groups and organizations are encouraged to host a training session free of charge.

Anyone interested in scheduling a session or learning more can contact Tessie Amaranto at the American Red Cross at 724-465-5678 or Tessie.Amaranto@RedCross.org.

Tim Karan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303 or tkaran@tribweb.com.

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