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Mainers’ story shows how every second counts in cardiac arrest

main news story cpr

PORTLAND – The American Red Cross and other National Cardiac Arrest Collaborative members are stressing during National CPR and AED Awareness Week (June 1-7) how every second counts in cardiac arrest and that CPR and AED training can save lives.

That was certainly the case in Maine for two strangers whose lives were profoundly affected when their paths crossed last year. Tom Bradley and Stewart Graham, both of Portland, were working out at the same gym when Bradley went into cardiac arrest. Graham who had taken a CPR course as a prerequisite for another class years earlier, saw Bradley collapse and perfored chest compressions until first responders arrived.

“Be the One Who Makes a Difference,” a downloadable video created by a Maine Red Cross volunteer further tells Bradley and Graham’s story of how that training made the difference.

Sudden cardiac arrest claims the lives of thousands of people nationally every year. If someone goes into sudden cardiac arrest, their heart suddenly stops beating, stopping blood flow to the brain and other vital organs.

“Many sudden cardiac arrest victims die before getting to a hospital, so every second counts,” said Patricia Murtagh, CEO of the Maine Region of the American Red Cross. “People can make a difference and save lives by learning a few simple steps.”

The Red Cross offers several different options for people to learn these lifesaving skills. One is to attend in-person classes held at convenient locations with hands-on training from experienced instructors. Online and blended (combining hands-on training with online content) offerings are also available. Several courses are OSHA compliant. People should check with their employer about the classes needed to fulfill job requirements.

Additional course and registration information are available at redcross.org/takeaclass. The Red Cross also helps individuals and organizations purchase AEDs, accessories and service and maintenance plans.

Individuals taking hands-on training will benefit from practicing skills on the new state-of-the-art BigRed™ LightSaving Manikin. The manikin will increase students’ confidence that they can save a life in emergency situations, as it is equipped with three interrelated sets of lights that provide immediate feedback to students on how they are performing CPR. Only the proper technique will show the circulation of blood from the heart to the brain that improves the chances of survival for a sudden cardiac arrest victim.

The free Red Cross First Aid App provides users with instant access on how to perform Hands-Only CPR and information on sudden cardiac arrest, heart attacks and other emergencies.

People can save lives and make their households, workplaces and communities safer by getting trained.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit MaineRedCross.org, like the American Red Cross of Maine on Facebook or visit us on Twitter at @ARC_Maine.