Did you know that more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of the hospital every year? Since the lack of CPR decreases a victim’s chances of survival by 7% every minute that is delayed, that’s a lot of people at risk. Although it may seem like you’ll never be in that situation — watching someone slump to the ground in the midst of a heart attack –, reality sometimes proves to be very different.


That’s precisely what happened to Lisa Cox, a resident of Tallahassee.


“We were out for a run and stopped at a friend’s driveway, where water had been left out for us,” she said. “I bent down to pet their dog, and collapsed.”


Fortunately, her running partner that day was Jamie Harris, a registered nurse who had just taken a refresher course in CPR. After her cardiac episode — and the lifesaving reaction of Harris –, Cox was diagnosed with Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) despite the fact that she was an active marathoner and triathlete. If not for her friend’s CPR training and CPR certification, Cox might not have lived to run another day.


Gerome Heiker experienced that fear, as well. When headed to an Orlando City soccer game, he slumped over the steering wheel while stopped at a red light. His wife, Pam Heiker, an emergency room nurse at Orlando Regional Medical Center, administered CPR while waiting for paramedics to arrive at the scene.


“I didn’t expect my husband to be one of my patients,” she admitted. “Later, the paramedics told me he would have died if it had not been for me doing CPR. We are so grateful for a second chance at life.”


These cases describe just two of the many instances where CPR has gone the distance in keeping someone alive. Oxygen-rich blood cells remain in the body for up to eight minutes after cardiac arrest; the problem is that they aren’t circulating. By seeking out CPR certification courses and BLS classes (basic life support), you can make the difference in someone’s life.


“You don’t have to be a nurse to give high-quality CPR,” Heiker encouraged. “Anyone can do this. It just takes the knowledge and preparation so you are ready if needed.”


The best way to be prepared is to sign up for a CPR certification course; you never know when you might need it.

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