February is American Heart Month and the kick-off of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Initiative. To show its support and to help prevent death due to cardiac arrest, the Long Lake Fire Department is co-hosting a hands-only CPR training and fundraising event. The event is family-friendly and open to the entire public, not just the Long Lake Fire Department’s service area.
“Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, and yet 70 percent of Americans feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency because they don’t know how to administer CPR or they’re afraid of hurting the victim,” said Scott Spinks, Long Lake Deputy Chief, full-time paramedic, and the event’s lead CPR trainer. “When a person has a cardiac arrest, survival depends on immediately receiving CPR from someone nearby. The more we expose the public to hands-on CPR, the more lives we save.”
The U.S. Fire Administration estimates that nearly two-thirds (64%) of reported calls required emergency medical services (EMS) and rescue services from fire departments. “The majority of the calls we respond to are medical calls and that includes heart-related emergencies. Because we are committed to keeping our community safe, we know that we cannot continue to solely focus on fire safety training, even though that is what we are known for,” said Mike Heiland, Long Lake Chief. “Based on the success of last year’s inaugural event, we feel it is critically important to continue to offer Hands-only CPR to our community.”
According to the American Heart Association, about 90 percent out-of-hospital cardiac arrests are fatal. CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double, or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.
“As the wife of a firefighter, I know that if a person is called on to give CPR in an emergency, they’re most likely trying to save the life of someone they love: a child, a spouse, a parent or a friend,” said Kelly Grady, co-host of the Everyone Can Save a Life Event and a 2024 AHA Minnesota Woman of Impact Ambassador. “My dad recently died following a heart-related indecent at his home, so it’s important to me to educate others about the importance of CPR.”
While the event is free, each attendee is suggested to donate to the American Heart Association.
“The AHA has done amazing work leading the initiatives to ensure all 911 operators are trained to guide a caller through hands-only CPR,” said Spinks. “Their efforts to bridge the gap from an emergency call to the arrival of emergency services increases the chances of survival. Your donation will directly benefit the AHA’s efforts!”
No one can predict when a cardiac arrest will exactly occur, but preparedness in such an emergency is critical to saving precious lives. Everyone Can Save a Life event is open to all ages, but CPR training is available for those nine and up. The fire department will have a bouncy house on site for kids and Sparky the Fire Dog will be there to meet and greet and pose for photos.