CPR Superheroes are everyday men and women with the power to save the life of another person. There are CPR Superheroes in every city and every country, waiting day and night to put their knowledge and skills to use.

Joining their likes is simple — learn Hands Only CPR by visiting the CPR Superhero Response Vehicle at Springfest in Misquamicut on May 12.

Life itself is extremely fragile. In the time it takes for the heart to beat just once, everything can change. In an effort to improve awareness, bystander CPR and survival rates in Westerly, the Recreation Department is sponsoring Hands-Only CPR at Springfest. 

Each year, cardiac arrest strikes down more than half a million of our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children. This equal opportunity killer lurks in our town businesses, gathering places and homes. Cardiac arrest often targets seemingly healthy persons of all ages, races and genders. When cardiac arrest occurs, there is an instantaneous loss of consciousness and collapse. Seconds and minutes matter, and hearts too young to die are often lost.

A number of reports have illustrated that bystander CPR can substantially improve rates of survival from sudden cardiac arrest. A bystander is a person who happens to be near the victim and who is not part of the organized emergency response system. In fact, more than 80 percent of cardiac arrests occur in and around the home and are witnessed by a family member or friend.

It is critically important to understand that when we perform immediate CPR, the person’s chance of surviving cardiac arrest can double or triple.

There is an endless list of rationalizations and excuses for not learning and performing CPR. Excuses for not learning CPR include the belief that CPR training is expensive, complicated, inaccessible and only for health care professionals. Reasons for not performing CPR range from fear of failure, to fear of harming the victim, to fear of being sued, to believing someone else will help, and mistaking gasping breaths as normal breathing.

CPR training is affordable, easy to learn, easily accessible and is appropriate for all to learn. Any CPR is better than no CPR and your actions can only help. Good Samaritan Laws are designed to protect people who give CPR and other emergency help in good faith without the threat of a lawsuit.

There are some very good reasons to learn and perform CPR. Count the number of persons in your family and add to that the number of friends that you have. The sum equals the number of completely legitimate reasons for you to learn CPR.

Helping another person in their ultimate time of need is a civic duty, a moral obligation and the ultimate expression of hope.

David B. Hiltz is director of quality and development at Code One Training Solutions LLC.

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