Valley Catholic Middle School students will join Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue (TVF&R) firefighters in teaching hands-only CPR to Washington Square Mall guests and retailers on Saturday, Feb. 7, from noon to 3 p.m. in the event space below the food court.
The school is a leader when it comes to promoting and teaching the technique. In 2011, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue and Valley Catholic Middle School implemented the first partnership in Oregon between a fire department and school to teach hands-only CPR. In a three-year period, students who have received training have taught close to 5,000 people hands-only CPR, resulting in two people's lives being saved already.
Knowing that Washington Square Mall averages a large number of shoppers on any given Saturday and has been a proponent of training its staff in emergency procedures, students approached the mall's management and TVF&R firefighters to help them accomplish their goal of teaching Washington County residents hands-only CPR during Heart Month.
Every year, more than 300,000 people die from sudden cardiac arrest, many before ever reaching a hospital. Because a victim's chance of survival decreases by 10 percent for each minute without CPR from the time of arrest, bystander intervention is crucial. When citizens are willing and able to provide early CPR, and AEDs are readily available, the chances of a patient surviving a cardiac event are increased.
Rebecca Lesley, senior marketing manager at Washington Square states, "At Washington Square, our team members are trained and certified in CPR and AEDs every year. We have seen this training result in lives saved at the mall. We support firefighters' and students' efforts to teach this lifesaving skill to our guests and retailers and expand the network of citizens who are trained to respond to a cardiac emergency."
During the three-hour event, students and firefighters will demonstrate how easy it is to perform hands-only CPR when someone goes into sudden cardiac arrest, helping those who they teach practice the skill on manikins. Pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest to the exact beat of the Bee Gees' song "Staying Alive" can maintain circulation and breathing for a cardiac patient until firefighter paramedics arrive to begin advanced medical care.
Two years ago, TVF&R became the first fire department in Oregon to offer a free mobile phone app called PulsePoint. The app alerts subscribers to a cardiac arrest if it occurs in a public place within one-quarter-mile radius of their location - providing them with an opportunity to initiate CPR while waiting for emergency responders to arrive. Students and firefighters will encourage everyone who learns hands-only CPR to download the app. To learn more about CPR and PulsePoint, visit www.tvfr.com.