Representatives from American Medical Response (AMR) were at Walmart on Wednesday providing life-saving training and attempting to break a world’s record in the process.
The life-saving procedure is called compression-only CPR – short for cardiopulmonary resuscitation – and it is essential to helping people who may be experiencing a cardiac event.
“I’ve been on an ambulance for 22 years and the thing that saves lives is compression-only CPR,” said Robert Terrell, one of the AMR representatives at the event, dubbed The World CPR Challenge.
Supervisor Willie Williams said the event was held “to encourage the general public to step in and help out.”
“If people are educated on how to react, a lot of people will react,” he said.
In addition to providing the general public with information and training on the procedure, AMR also was attempting to set a record with Guinness Worlds Records for the largest number of people being trained in CPR at one time. The LaGrange event was one of three in Georgia, with other events in Newnan and at Atlanta’s Turner Field during the Braves versus Twins game Wednesday. Terrell said AMR officials wanted to teach everyone in the stadium. According to AMR’s Patrick Stiver, a total of 1,501 people were trained at all of the Georgia events.
AMR officials said the procedure is simple and training only takes a couple of minutes. Participants first ask the unresponsive person if they are OK.
If the person remains unresponsive, have someone call 911 while the person is given compressions to the chest. Since many people are unwilling to provide mouth to mouth resuscitation, simple compressions are the easiest way to continue blood flow within the body.
The fast compressions massage the heart, keep the blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs while creating negative airflow within the lungs which draws in some oxygen. The compressions should be kept up until medical personnel arrive.
Appropriately, the Bee Gees 1977 disco hit “Stayin’ Alive” was mentioned during training. The song’s fast tempo provides approximately 104 beats a minute, very close to the necessary 100 compressions a minute needed. People giving CPR on practice dummies were encouraged to think of the song and match the beats while they gave compressions.
According to AMR representatives, the event is held in 40 states and is part of the nationwide observance of National Emergency Medical Services Week. In addition to Terrell and Williams, Emergency Medical Technicians Mike Hood and Roger Hunt also were on hand to provide training to the public.
“We really want to encourage people to do something instead of nothing,” Terrell said. If a person encounters someone who is unresponsive, “anything is better than nothing.”