January 20, 2022

Fire dept. offers first CPR classes

Many spots left...

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Cortland Fire Capt. David Jensen demonstrates chest compressions on a training mannequin while at the Cortland Fire Department on Saturday.

You’ve seen it before on TV: People sit down at a restaurant for dinner. Everything is fine until the older man sitting across the room hunches over into his plate of lasagna clutching his chest. The screen cuts out and some clean-cut man in a suit gives some statistics on how the man having the heart attack could have survived if someone knew CPR.

“Doing CPR doubles or triples a patient’s survival rate,” said Capt. Dave Jensen of the Cortland City Fire Department.

For the first time on Saturday, people have the chance, for a fee, to sign up for two courses offered by the fire department, certified through the American Heart Association. One class will teach people cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of an automated defibrillator. The first aid class will teach skills to respond to and manage an emergency until emergency medical services arrives.

People can take one or the other, or even both.

Heidi Brown, administrative assistant at the fire department, said the classes are new this year. After receiving calls last year from an array of people, from college students to employers, looking for the classes the department decided to start its own.

Brown said that in the past the department would try to find classes for people to take, but schedules did not always match up. After collaborating with Jensen, the two went to Chief Charles Glover with the idea. “Chief Glover was OK with it,” she said.

The city fire department responded to at least 20 cardiac arrest calls last year.

Getting training

WHAT: First aid and CPR training
WHEN: First Aid: 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and CPR: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
WHERE: New York State Armory at 25 Wheeler Ave.
FEE: $30 per class
TO SIGN UP: Call the fire station at 607-756-5612 or email heidi.brown@cortlandfire.org.

The American Heart Association reports that nearly 383,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur annually and 88 percent of cardiac arrests occur at home. Effective bystander CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival, but only 32 percent of cardiac arrest victims get CPR from a bystander.

Jensen said the first aid class will teach people skills like:

• How to administer an epinephrine injection.
• Bleeding control.
• Administering an asthma inhaler.
• How to identify the signs of a heart attack or stroke.

There are between 10 and 12 spots open for the first round of the classes. Brown said Friday that only two people have signed up for the courses so far.