At the American Heart Association, we believe preparation is the essential key to saving lives and that’s why we are constantly trying to find ways to make consumers feel prepared and comfortable in emergency situations. We often hear that bystanders are unsure what to do when there is an emergency situation and they don’t know how to administer the lifesaving skills of CPR. This holiday season, please consider the gift of CPR training for your family and friends so they won’t fall into the category of “unprepared”.

Here’s a real-world scenario where CPR training saved a family from spending the holidays without their father. Sonya Vezmar, an American Heart Association Community CPR Manager in Cleveland, was enjoying a friend’s birthday on Halloween when she was startled by the sound of someone screaming “Call 9-1-1! Call 9-1-1!” She initially thought the person screaming was playing a joke until she saw others, including the manager and staff on hand, in a panic and yelling for help.

When Sonya looked over, she saw a mid-50s gentleman sitting in a chair that looked very pale and non-responsive. That’s when her CPR skills kicked in and asked him if he was okay while tapping his shoulders. There was no response.

Sonya immediately removed his shirt and started doing chest compressions. After only about five compressions, the man started blinking his eyes and his color came back to his face. She then put a jacket under his head and waited with him until EMS arrived to look him over and asses his situation. The man’s son was crying while he hugged Sonya, as he recognized the gravity of the moment.

Sonya and Family

Sonya and her family

“CPR WORKS!!!” Sonya said. “I know I teach it every day and hear stories every day about how it works but until I found myself in the position to actually have to perform it, I think I may have doubted myself to do it right. It amazes me to think that I trusted in what I’d been taught, followed the steps and the outcome was that I ‘saved’ a life. This experience has deeply touched me and just reinforces the importance of what we all do day in and day out.”

“CPR is an important lifesaving skill that can teach you how to save a life,” she added. “It can happen to anyone and it can happen at any time; you never know when you will have to use it. It is something that everyone should know how to do!”

We thank Sonya for being such a tremendous AHA ambassador for CPR training and her amazing save. Without her quick action, one family could possibly be without their father this holiday season. As you scramble for last minute holiday gifts, or if you’re thinking of resolutions for the new year, why not consider the gift of lifesaving CPR training for your family and friends? Please visit www.shopcpranytime.org for a variety of training materials that you can perform from the comfort of your own home. I wish you and yours a very happy holiday season and Happy New Year!

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