Cheney Free Press -

Staff Reporter 

AWH Fire Department holds CPR training


Last updated 10/4/2018 at 9:27pm

The Airway Heights Fire Department hosted a hands-only CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) class for the public on Sept. 27 at the Skate Ribbon in Spokane’s Riverfront Park, partnering with the local American Red Cross to teach community members invaluable life-saving skills they can use in an emergency.

Fire Chief Mitch Metzger emceed the event, and told participants that 70-80 percent of the time, CPR is performed on a loved one.

“Hands-only” CPR is CPR without mouth-to-mouth breaths. It is recommended for use by people who see a teen or adult suddenly collapse in an “out-of-hospital” setting, and can make the difference between life and death.

“Every minute without CPPR decreases the chance of survival by 10 percent,” Metzger said. “Brain damage begins at four minutes.”

September marked National Emergency Preparedness Month, and according to the American Heart Association, about 90 percent of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die. CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.

Red Cross fact sheets estimate that only 46 percent of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest receive the immediate help that they need before professional help arrives.

Families, single adults and groups of coworkers turned out to learn the basics, which only took about half an hour. Airway Heights firefighters were there to show them the ropes, first teaching them how to perform successful chest compressions and then letting them practice on diagrams of the human body.

Local resident Erin Reyes brought her children, Alexis Reyes and Josh Chapa, to learn hands-only CPR to supplement what they are learning in school.

Ten-year-old Alexis stayed one step ahead, reminding her brother to check for an airway as well. It’s a trick she learned by watching the movie “Baywatch” with actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

“I love that movie, and I saw them do that in it,” Alexis said.

Blasting “Staying Alive” by the Bee-Gees over a loudspeaker, participants practiced pushing at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute, which corresponds to the beat of the song. Other songs like “Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z, “Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira” or “Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash also can also help inexperienced CPR performers track the correct number of compressions per minute.

Hands-only CPR performed by a bystander has been shown to be as effective as CPR with rescue breaths in the first few minutes of an adult’s sudden cardiac arrest, accoding to the American Heart Association.

Metzger stressed the “check, call, compress” method of CPR, telling class attendees to first check that the patient is okay and if not, to call 911 before beginning chest compressions.

The Airway Heights firefighters were donating their time to ensure community members could be prepared to help save the life of a friend or loved one.

Even if you are not a doctor or nurse, you can make a difference by calling 911 then performing CPR while waiting for paramedics to arrive, Metzger said in his opening comments.

“Doing something is always better than not doing anything at all,” Metzger said.

Shannen Talbot can be reached at


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