Here’s how to register for free CPR, bleeding control class in Port Arthur

Published 12:10 am Sunday, April 9, 2023

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Port Arthur Fire Chief Greg Benson said it was knowledge and fast action that allowed a mother in North Carolina to save her 17-year-old daughter when the child collapsed at a cheerleading event last month.

The medical assistant could not find a pulse on her child, and immediately began performing CPR until help arrived.

It was the same knowledge and quick thinking the fire chief says saved the life of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin who collapsed during a game in January.

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An assistant athletic trainer began administering CPR, restarting the 24-year-old’s heart.

“You need to know what to do right away, otherwise the chance of survival is much lower,” Benson said.

To assist the general public with that knowledge, the Port Arthur Fire Department will host a hands-only CPR and basic bleeding control class Friday at the Port Arthur Public Library.

The free course is open to anyone and begins at 10 a.m., lasting approximately 90 minutes. Participants will not receive a certificate but will gain critical knowledge of life-saving skills.

According to the American Heart Association, more than 380,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests happen each year with nearly 90 percent occurring in the victim’s home.

“Sudden cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack,” the AHA says. “Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when electrical impulses in the heart become rapid or chaotic, which causes the heart to suddenly stop beating. A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to part of the heart muscle is blocked. A heart attack may cause cardiac arrest.”

Benson said Friday’s event would be the first of many similar events.

“This is like the initiation, but it’s one of the things we need to be doing more of and engaging the community,” he said. “If your neighbor or somebody in your house goes into cardiac arrest or cuts themselves and starts hemorrhaging, of course you’re going to call 9-1-1. But what do you do until they get there?”

Friday’s class allows participants to practice on dummies. The PAFD has multiple members on staff certified to train others in CPR.

Benson said the department is also looking at ways to partner with first responders in Mid County.

“It’s definitely beneficial to the entire area,” he said. “If we’re not outreaching to the community, we’re missing an opportunity to create awareness and maybe prevent some things.”

Click here to register for the upcoming CPR course.