[OPINION] NJ Residents Should Learn CPR

Like most children of the 70’s, I know the Bee Gee’s “Stayin’ Alive” by heart. Visions of disco balls, bellbottom pants and John Travolta play in my head as soon as that unmistakable beat comes on. However, I never imagined a catchy tune of my youth could one day help save my life.

In 2008, at the age of 49, I collapsed on the side of the road suffering from sudden cardiac arrest. While the adults around me called 9-1-1 for help, it was a high school sophomore who jumped into action, starting cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

The student had been trained in CPR at school. By understanding the mechanics of CPR and how to push down on a chest during a crisis situation, that young man helped keep me alive until paramedics arrived. I, along with my four children, will be forever grateful for that lesson taught of CPR.

I hope that every student in New Jersey be required to learn and practice the mechanics of CPR. Although I hope it is a lesson never put into action, it’s important that our youth be prepared to act in an emergency situation.

June 1-June 7 is CPR/AED Awareness Week and there is no better time to learn CPR. While I encourage everyone to become fully certified, hands-only CPR has been proven to save lives, according to the American Heart Association. If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse, call 9-1-1 and push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of “Stayin’ Alive.” CPR can more than double a person’s chances of survival, and “Stayin’ Alive” has the right beat for Hands-Only CPR.

To learn more about hands-only CPR, visit www.heart.org/HandsOnlyCPR.

Laurie Heavener, Stanhope, American Heart Association Volunteer

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