In case of emergency
by Maggie Gephardt
Hays Daily News
Feb 28, 2016
Emergencies, including heart attacks, strokes or choking incidents can happen anywhere at any time, and Hays Medical Center is taking steps to help ensure people are ready.
The hospital invited the community to take part in its free “Stayin’ Alive Hands-Only CPR” training course Saturday at the Center for Health Improvement.
“The disco song, ‘Stayin’ Alive’ is the same beat you need when you do compressions,” said Debbie McLaren, education certification course coordinator at HaysMed.
A crowd of people filed into the center gymnasium to learn updated techniques involving breathing, compressions and timing.
Don Klaus, Hays, attended with his granddaughter, Cadee, 8.
“We came so we could learn to save lives, and especially so I can take care of my grandkids,” Klaus said.
Volunteer instructors from HaysMed, Fort Hays State University and several other organizations led the course, according to McLaren.
“The brain can only go a very short time without oxygen,” said Lillian Slater, director of education for Ellis County EMS. “If the bystanders don’t start it, even if we’re the quickest we can be, we’re not going to usually get there in time to have a good outcome.”
Slater explained how CPR techniques have become easier to learn over time because the steps have been simplified.
“It isn’t that important to do the ventilations, as long as they can do compressions,” she said. “When people collapse from cardiac arrest, they still have oxygen in their blood, so if bystanders can just pump that around, it can be successful.”
The HaysMed Foundation provided CPR kits for participants to take home, which included an instructional DVD and blow-up mannequins.
HaysMed has conducted the community CPR course for approximately 17 years, according to McLaren, who said the hospital usually offers it around the end of February or beginning of March.
“You really want to get that CPR going for when EMS arrives,” McLaren said. “Time is everything when it comes to saving a life.”