Take This Class and Make Our Community Safer

By Jim Bollenbacher

Did you know that if you experience sudden cardiac arrest, your chance of surviving is much better on Hilton Head Island than here on Amelia Island? Sadly, it’s true, but a group of dedicated volunteers with the Nassau County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is working hard to change that and make all of Nassau County safer.

Every year over 350,000 people experience sudden cardiac arrest where the heart stops beating and pumping blood. The most common place for cardiac arrest to occur is at home, meaning the person needing CPR may be a loved one. On average, only about 10% of cardiac arrest victims survive. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Starting CPR while the paramedics are on the way can triple the chance your loved one will survive.

Recently, the American Heart Association (AHA) made it easier and safer for bystanders to provide CPR to save a life. Mouth to mouth breathing is no longer required. Instead, just perform chest compressions until the paramedics arrive. This is “Hands Only” CPR. To perform it, place your hands in the center of the person’s chest, right on the hard breastbone, and push hard. An easy way to know if you are doing it right is to push to the beat of the Bee Gee’s song “Stayin’ Alive.” Continue pushing until paramedics arrive.

The Nassau County Medical Reserve Corps is a group of medical professionals who volunteer their time to the community. Their mission is to teach everyone in Nassau County how to perform CPR using life-like mannikins. Classes are free and last about an hour. The class also includes how to use an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) and a discussion of the Florida Good Samaritan Act which provides protection from liability when a bystander attempts to help.

Communities like Hilton Head Island have come together to make CPR and AED training a community priority. In those communities, survival rates have increased and are well above national averages. Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach can do the same. The MRC volunteers are working hard to teach everyone how to save a life. The life you save might be your loved one.

For more information, contact the Medical Reserve Corps at [email protected] or visit our website.

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