February is American Heart Month
by Wes Mayer
In addition to being Black History Month and Creative Romance Month, February is known as American Heart Month.
Because of this, Sam Connor and the two other instructors with Newnan CPR, Michael Ellis and Dave Slaton, will be providing free Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation classes at locations in Coweta and surrounding counties throughout the month. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United Stated, Connor said, and our community only has an 8 percent survival rate.
“During this month I'll talk to all my students about heart attack risk factors, getting blood pressure and cholesterol checks, stopping smoking, eating ‘heart-healthy’ and getting more exercise,” Connor said. “We're also pulling out all the stops to try and get people trained in at least hands-only CPR during American Heart Month.”
So far, Connor has set up seven times to teach free CPR classes around the community. On Feb. 6, from 6 to 7:45 p.m. at the Freeman Sasser Building in Senoia; on Feb. 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. at New Vision Church in Fayetteville; on Feb. 11 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Whitesburg Public Library in Whitesburg; on Feb. 12 from 6 to 7:45 p.m. at the University of West Georgia Newnan campus; on Feb. 20 from 2 to 4 p.m. at The Carnegie Library in Newnan; on Feb. 24 at the Union City Depot in Union City; and on Feb. 27 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Main Attraction Studio in Grantville.
Although these courses do not make attendants CPR certified, they are free, and all people need to do is show up, Connor said. During the classes, attendees will receive written information about cardiovascular disease and CPR, watch the course DVD, then get a chance to learn and practice hands-only CPR on an adult manikin. Connor said he has 35 manikins, and two people can learn hands-only CPR on one manikin.
They will also learn choking relief, how to use an automatic external defibrillator and how to do breaths, which is the appropriate way to resuscitate children and infants. Connor said when adults collapse, it is usually because of cardiac arrest, so only chest compressions are required — children and infants usually collapse because of respiratory problems, so breaths are needed in addition to compressions.
Every minute a person goes without their heart pumping blood to their brain, their likelihood of survival is reduced by 8 to 10 percent, Connor said. Sometimes emergency personnel are seven to nine minutes away. If someone nearby knows hands-only CPR, they greatly increase a cardiac arrest victim’s chances to survive.
“More people are willing to help if they don’t have to put their mouth on a stranger’s mouth,” Connor said.
Connor said some communities, like around Seattle, have a survival rate of more than 56 percent, and it is pitiful Atlanta is so far behind. He is hopeful more and more people will learn CPR now, due to a new state law mandating high schoolers learn at least hands-only CPR before they graduate.
Connor will also be providing quick CPR classes at local Chick-fil-A restaurants in February. These dates are Feb. 18 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Newnan Dwarf House, Feb. 19 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Fairburn Chick-fil-A, and Feb. 20 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Newnan Chick-fil-A. Connor will have manikins at these locations and will quickly teach hands-only CPR to passersby at these locations.
To find nearby CPR courses where people may become CPR certified, they may go to the American Heart Association website and click “Find a Course” where they can type in their zip code. Connor said there are two classes in February, one on Feb. 14 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the University of West Georgia Newnan campus, and one on Feb. 28 from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Storage Xxtra Conference Room on Highway 154.