Boyertown ambulance slates ‘hands-only' CPR class

To the steady beat of the BeeGees’ “Staying Alive,” Boyertown ambulance personnel are helping area residents stay alive.

On Saturday, April 12, Boyertown Lions Community Ambulance Service, Inc. will be conducting for the first time a “hands-only” CPR course at their headquarters on East 2nd Street in Boyertown. This non-certified course will teach the lay person what to do when they encounter someone who is stricken with a life-threatening incident, such as a heart attack or respiratory arrest.

When performing hands-only CPR, the rescuer puts one hand on top of the other hand in the center of the victim’s chest and, to the beat of ”Staying Alive,” pushes hard and fast at the rate of 100 compressions per minute.

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Before the introduction of hands-only CPR, explained Ashley J. Neubauer, chief of operations/training officer, for Boyertown ambulance, people were reluctant to use mouth-to-mouth ventilation. Because of their concerns, would-be rescuers would call 9-1-1 and wait till the ambulance arrived, which could be anywhere from one to five minute. “Those minutes can now be put to good use,” she pointed out. ”When a person goes into cardiac arrest, the first couple of minutes are crucial. It’s imperative that medical intervention be performed immediately or the heart just dies.

“Last May, when the hands-only CPR was implemented in Pennsylvania, the goal was to have 250,000 people educated on this new technique,” said Neubauer. “Now it’s three times more.” Studies by the American Heart Association have shown that, with this new technique, there is a better survival rate, she noted. Statistics indicate that the survival rate for heart attack victims who undergo traditional CPR is one in five. “We’re hoping that the hands-only technique will improve that rate,” she said.

The CPR class will be held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Cost is $20 per person. Individuals wishing to enroll must sign up prior to the class by calling Ashley Neubauer at 610-367-2330.