FAIRFIELD — County Emergency Medical Services Administrator Ted Selby had a pitch to make to passersby in Solano Town Center on the first floor near JC Penney.
“Two minutes – you can save a life,” Selby told them.
County Emergency Medical Services teamed up with Kaiser Permanente, NorthBay Healthcare, Sutter Health and Medic Ambulance to offer free cardiopulmonary resuscitation instruction Thursday. Mall walkers could go into a vacant store to learn the basics.
Selby talked to Vallejo resident Latifah Alexander as she came down an escalator, shopping bags in hand. Minutes later, Alexander had learned CPR for adults and teenagers – this “hands-only” method is not used on children and infants.
Alexander had no idea when Thursday began that she would have taken a quick CPR class by noon. A few minutes with an instructor appeared to give her confidence.
“I could save a life,” she said as she left.
Selby didn’t have to make a pitch to John Zenovitch of Fairfield. Zenovitch came to the mall because he had heard about the instruction sessions and wanted to learn CPR.
“To be a decent human being,” Zenovitch said. “To be able to do what I have to do.”
All it took was a few minutes. Zenovitch expressed surprise the session was so easy and quick.
“And I feel a lot better about myself,” he said when he had finished.
Lacy Dequattro of NorthBay gave CPR instruction using a rubber training dummy of a person. That dummy provided the picture of the collapsed heart disease victim.
“This is what kills 400,000 people each year,” Dequattro said. “And 89 percent of them don’t make it because they didn’t have prehospital CPR.”
People who see a heart attack victim should call 911, she said. Then they should administer CPR to the unresponsive victim by pushing hard in the center of the chest at a rate of 100 pushes a minute, similar to the rhythm of the Bee Gee’s disco hit “Stayin’ Alive.”
People taking the two-minute instruction sessions did just that using the training dummies.
The American Heart Association has simplified CPR for laymen by making it “hands-only” CPR, as opposed to CPR combined with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The association’s website says this simpler method may help overcome people’s panic and hesitation to act.
“This is kind of the new, cutting edge CPR,” said Michael Modrich of county Emergency Medical Services.
The county offered the two-minute instruction sessions from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sixty-one people participated. Selby found an audience for his pitches in the long line of people who came to See’s Candy for a Valentine’s Day purchase.
People can call Emergency Medical Services at 784-8155 to get more information on CPR instruction in the community. No session at the mall similar to Thursday’s is presently scheduled.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.