Rice hosts mass CPR training

on .

by Mónica Rojas | February 7, 2016

Keeping to the beat of "Stayin' Alive," nearly 550 people across Houston learned life-saving CPR techniques at a statewide event Saturday.

Houston was among 10 Texas cities, led by the Texas College of Emergency Physicians, to host events teaching residents how to perform CPR and maybe even break a Guinness World Record for most trainings in a day.

"If someone has an emergency, even if emergency services are called right away, it's still going to take some time for them to get there," said Lisa Basgall, emergency medical services director at Rice University, which hosted one of the events. "If you know CPR, if we all know CPR, then the person has a much better chance."

Saving a life

Participants of "Texas Two Step: How to Save a Life" learned how to perform hands-only CPR in 20 minutes at 12 locations in the greater Houston area.

"Some people are intimidated that they might not do it right - they don't really know about providing rescue breaths," said Ndidi Okeke, a third-year Baylor College of Medicine student and coordinator for the Rice University and Sharpstown High School locations. "If you tell them 'You just have to do the compressions,' people are a lot more willing to provide CPR."

Rescue breathes aren't as vital to CPR as people believe, Okeke said. According to 2010 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, hands-only CPR saves more lives than traditional CPR with intermittent mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Like its name suggests, the program teaches two main steps to help someone who is going into cardiac arrest: call 9-1-1 and begin chest compressions.

"Even a child can do CPR on an adult - they just have to put all their weight into it," Okeke said.

CPR alone cannot keep a patient alive but fills in the gap while professional medical attention is received, said cardiologist Tomas Garcia, president of the Texas Medical Association president.

Aout 80 percent of cardiac arrests happen in homes, according to the American Heart Association.

"Most of the time you'll save someone you love, someone in your family, someone in the work place, who suddenly collapses and it's just like a riding a bike, that training clicks in," Garcia said.

West University resident Anne Cleary took her 10-year-old daughter Kristen to Rice for one of the sessions.

"She's around teachers and her grandmother," Cleary said. "If she sees someone in need, (she'll) know what to do. I think it's a great event because in a very short amount of time you're going to learn a very critical skill."

A coordinated effort

Participants were asked to take a test before and after the training sessions to evaluate CPR knowledge. Angela Fisher, founder and chief executive office of leadership consulting firm MaveRx, said the tests will be used to contact participants three, six and 12 months after the sessions to assess how much of the training is remembered and used.

"It's amazing how coordinated effort can bring this together," said Arlo Weltge, medical director at American Medical Response. "The American Heart Association has for decades talked about the community as being the ultimate intensive care unit."

Whether Texas beat out Munster, Germany's 11,840 CPR participants for the Guinness world record won't be known until totals are tallied.

Article originally posted at http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Rice-hosts-mass-CPR-training-6814320.php

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