As people prepare their swimming pools and plan summer vacations, the American Red Cross is preparing citizens for emergencies.
June 1 through 7 marks the second annual National CPR/AED Awareness Week, which spotlights how lives can be saved if more Americans know CPR and how to use an AED (automated external defibrillator).
The timing of the awareness week has a lot to do with summer activities. According to a recent American Red Cross telephone survey, nearly half of the respondents will be taking part in water-related activities this summer at places where there are no lifeguards. Almost half also said they had nearly drown at some point in their life.
Tera Darts, health and safety administrator for the Warren County Chapter of the American Red Cross, said CRP/AED awareness is just as important locally.
"Summer is coming and people are doing a lot of water activities," she said. "Think about Chapman (State Park), there are no lifeguards up there."
CPR and AED training can be taught to just about anyone.
"They need to be old enough to comprehend the information and be able to do the skills and pass the test at with an 80 percent," she said.
Each year, 300,000 people suffer sudden cardiac arrest. Darts suggests there be a CPR-certified person in every family to increase the chances of survival.
While AEDs are not available everywhere, Darts said schools and many work places are equipment with the life-saving device.
"AED is an extension of CPR training," she said. "It goes hand and hand with CPR."
The AED training teaches the student about water hazards around the AED, cleaning the chest and other operational issues.
The actual operation of the AED is self-explanatory.
"It voice prompts you through the whole process," she said.
According to Red Cross testing materials, each minute that defibrillation is delayed reduces the chances of survival of a sudden cardiac arrest victim by about 10 percent.
The local chapter of the Red Cross will be promoting the awareness with CPR and AED training at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 3, at the chapter house at 305 Market St. Call Darts at 723-6000 to register.