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Northfield Area Heart Safe Project

Immediate, fast, efficient CPR can double or even triple your chances of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest.

A Northfield Hospital Emergency Medical Services (EMS) initiative called Northfield Area Heart Safe Project wants to tilt the odds in your favor. The goal is educate community members of all ages on the signs and symptoms of stroke, heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest and to train them in “no fear” compressions only CPR, giving them the skills and the confidence to act quickly in an emergency.

“The purpose of compressions only CPR is to remove the fear many bystanders have and simplify the process of administering CPR,” said Kathy Hanek, a paramedic with Northfield Hospital’s EMS and coordinator of the project. “We hope it will reduce people’s anxiety when witnessing a sudden cardiac arrest and so they are prepared and willing to act in the case of sudden cardiac arrest.”

Northfield Area Heart Safe is a local implementation of a more global CPR initiative developed and promoted by Take Heart America. By educating the broader population in CPR, they hope to dramatically improve the survival rates for those that suffer a cardiac arrest.

Northfield Area Heart Safe Project provides training using community volunteers. Most recently, these volunteers have been the Explorers from Post 3300. Hanek said the immediate goal of the project is to train students from Northfield High School and Randolph High School.  A new state law requires students who graduate in 2015 and beyond to be trained in CPR. Long term, she would like to move the training down the ladder to anyone fourth grade and older in their service area, which includes Dundas, Lonsdale, Randolph and Elko New Market.

They will look to senior citizens to extend their reach. They are hoping to recruit and train enough senior citizens them to comfortably meet their goal of training high school students. “It will be ‘seniors teaching seniors’,” she said of this facet of the program.

Nationally, sudden cardiac arrests claim 300,000 people annually. Barely 5 percent survive an event. Jennifer Fischer, MD, an Emergency Department physician at Northfield Hospital, is supervising the Heart Safe program.  She says it will save lives.

“In the past, a sudden cardiac event almost always resulted in death,” Dr. Fischer said. “If we can get bystanders to overcome their fear and get hands-only CPR going before the ambulance arrives, we can increase survival rates greatly.”

If you are interested in volunteering with the Northfield Area Heart Safe Project or are interested in hosting a training for family, friends, or your organization, please contact Kathy Hanek at heartsafeproject @gmail.com. There is no charge for training sessions. Volunteers need no experience or certifications.