Your hands can save a life

Glendale Fire tells the story of Mike Mertz, 59, who suffered a cardiac arrest while driving. He crashed into a tree and stucco wall.

Corey Ash, a United Parcel Service (UPS) driver saw what happened, called 9-1-1, then pulled Mr. Mertz from his car and began performing Continuous Chest Compression (CCC) – CPR.

Mr. Mertz was then treated by Glendale Fire Fighter Paramedics who successfully resuscitated him.

The old way of doing CPR has changed dramatically in Glendale and throughout Arizona, thanks to the new concept of “Continuous Chest Compressions” pioneered at the University of Arizona.

The shift over to this new method, also known as “hands only CPR,” began in 2004, when an alliance of scientists, medical providers and public health officials across Arizona initiated a bold program termed the Save Hearts in Arizona Registry and Education (SHARE) Program.

The aim of SHARE was to save as many lives as possible from cardiac arrest.

SHARE is the only statewide program of its kind in the country that tracks both cardiac arrest and bystander CPR across an entire state as a public health initiative. The Glendale Fire Department was one of the very initial SHARE partners in Arizona.

What would you do if a loved one suddenly collapsed? What would your children do if YOU suddenly collapsed? Raising Arizona Kids publisher and editor Karen Barr shared her wake-up call story last fall.

RAK writer Evelyn Hendrix wrote about the heartbreaking loss of a niece in our October issue. You can watch Evelyn talk about why she’s made sure her family knows hands on CPR on a recent Raising Arizona Kids report on 12News.

Here’s a Mayo Clinic video on how to do hands on CPR:

Because of this concentrated public health effort, bystander CPR rates are on the upswing (from 25% in 2004 to 34% in 2009), and survival rates have doubled.

The American Heart Association along with the Glendale Fire Department and the SHARE Program urges everyone- even kids- to learn hands only CPR.

It’s easy to learn, easy to remember, and easy to do. Most importantly, it saves lives.

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