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Akron Council members receive CPR, AED training

5/1/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Stephanie Kist

Council also looking at legislation to help UPA, EACH

Akron City Council members practice chest compressions during hands-only CPR training April 28.
Akron City Councilman Rich Swirsky (D-Ward 1), wearing a gold plastic “CPR” medallion, practices hands-only CPR during a training session for Council members April 28.
Photos: Stephanie Kist
DOWNTOWN AKRON — In approximately 45 minutes, several Akron City Council members became equipped to save a life April 28.

During their break between committee meetings and the regular Council meeting, nine Council members received training from Dr. Terry Gordon and several representatives of the American Heart Association on hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and using an automated external defibrillator (AED).

The training was the idea of Council President Garry Moneypenny (D-Ward 10) based on two events that took place earlier this year. Moneypenny said that when Council honored Akron Police Officer Lloyd Ford for coming to the aid of a choking victim at an Akron restaurant, it made him think, “Hey, what happens if somebody here goes down?”

He asked several of his fellow Council members if they had any first aid training, especially in light of a recent shift toward CPR utilizing chest compressions only, eliminating mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Moneypenny said it was clear that a refresher was due.

Then, in March, Moneypenny was contacted by Doylestown Village Council member Tony Lindeman, who survived sudden cardiac arrest during the 2012 Akron Marathon when two nurses performed CPR for 10 minutes. Lindeman said Wooster City Council, also in Wayne County, met before a scheduled Council meeting last summer to receive CPR training, and he told Moneypenny that if Akron City Council would do the same, he could arrange for the American Heart Association training.

And so on April 28, Akron City Council members donned gold plastic CPR medallions they jokingly called “bling,” inflated Mini Anne mannequins around a conference table in City Hall and learned the proper way to perform hands-only CPR under the tutelage of Gordon, along with Alice Luce, of the American Heart Association, Akron Fire Capt. Joe Natko and Lynne Trenkelbach and Heather Pariso, the nurses who helped save Lindeman during the marathon.

Gordon said that learning hands-only CPR often helps people feel more comfortable with the prospect of performing CPR in a crisis, and, therefore, it is more likely a bystander will perform CPR if they witness someone collapse. According to the American Heart Association, hands-only CPR is recommended for teens or adults who suddenly collapse in front of a bystander, but traditional CPR with rescue breaths is recommended for infants and children, for a victim found unconscious and not breathing normally, or for victims of certain medical emergencies, including drug overdose and drowning.

Council members were coached to pump the Mini Anne’s chest hard and fast, at least 100 times per minute. The classic disco song “Stayin’ Alive” provides the correct rhythm to pump to, Council members learned.

Many commented on the difficulty of pumping the chest so fast and with so much pressure, and expressed surprise that it is common for a victim’s chest bones to break during CPR, especially an elderly victim, but that shouldn’t deter CPR, which is still a lifesaving measure.

Gordon said there are five “links” to saving the life of a sudden cardiac arrest victim, the vast majority of whom won’t survive without intervention: Call 9-1-1, begin CPR, deliver an early shock with an AED, receive treatment by paramedics and receive treatment at a hospital. Gordon called the AED shock a “weak link” and showed Council members how to use an AED. The process took less than a minute, and the AED delivers instructions along the way.

“Our [AED] is right outside [Council] Chambers, in case you haven’t seen it,” Council Clerk Bob Keith announced.

The Council members were able to take home kits donated by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield that contained their Mini Anne, a video and additional instructions, and were told they could share their new knowledge with family and friends.

“It’s going to my ward meeting,” said Councilwoman Marilyn Keith (D-Ward 8).

In other business April 28, Council received two pieces of legislation authorizing the city to financially help two high-profile troubled organizations. The Budget and Finance Committee requested time on the ordinances and plans to bring them up for a vote in a future Council meeting.

If approved, the ordinances would allow the city to provide financial assistance to University Park Alliance (UPA) and East Akron Community House (EACH).

“Both of these areas are in important parts of the city,” said Mayor Don Plusquellic, who sponsored both pieces of legislation and who addressed the Budget and Finance Committee during its afternoon meeting.

The EACH ordinance would allow city Director of Finance Diane Miller-Dawson to make mortgage and utility payments and to negotiate with other lenders for a period of six months, in an amount not to exceed $60,000 while a task force recently appointed by the mayor continues to look at how to move the 100-year-old organization forward from a period of financial crisis.

In addition to giving the task force time to work, the move is intended to protect EACH’s building as an asset, said Moneypenny, who cosponsored the legislation, and to preserve certain necessary services there.

The UPA ordinance would authorize Miller-Dawson to make payments for membership fees in the approximate amount of $158,000. The city previously entered into an agreement to guarantee certain debts owed by UPA.

The next Akron City Council meeting will take place May 5 at 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers on the third floor of the Akron Municipal Building, 166 S. High St. in Downtown Akron. Committee meetings are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. that afternoon, also in Council Chambers.

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