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CPR classes give Longboaters chance to save lives

More than 800 people took CPR classes through the Longboat Key Fire Department over the last year.

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  • | 8:30 a.m. May 3, 2017
The Longboat Key Fire Department taught about 40 hands-only CPR classes to more than 800 residents. File  photo
The Longboat Key Fire Department taught about 40 hands-only CPR classes to more than 800 residents. File photo
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In the five minutes it takes the Longboat Key Fire Department to respond to an emergency, it’s vital that the victim’s heart is pumping.

It’s this fact and many others that Fire Chief Paul Dezzi hopes the more than 800 people who took CPR classes will remember. 

Over the past year, the fire department taught about 40 CPR classes on Longboat. Dezzi said the department was pleasantly surprised at the turnout and plans to continue the classes next year for those interested.

“This is just a plus, plus feel-good story of the Fire Department doing some wonderful things,” said Paul Skversky, who worked to bring CPR classes to the Longboat Key Public Tennis Center.

The classes can be, and were, taught at residences, club meetings and other public spaces.

The mouth-to-mouth portion of CPR can be intimidating to some people, Dezzi has said, so the 45-minute class teaches a “hands-on only” curriculum instead of a four-hour long certification class. Through this shorter class, participants learn hands-only CPR and how to use automatic external defibrillators.

“What happens with that is we hope they follow the procedure of calling 911 … and they’re able to do chest compressions, and we’ll worry about the airway,” Dezzi said.

Firefighters also taught participants 911 protocol and explained some of the medical equipment.

“We want them to stay on the phone so they [responders] get all that info,” Dezzi said. “It’s important for the responders to know what exactly they’re getting into.”

Since the classes began, the Fire Department has received positive feedback about the program. Dezzi said as long as people call and ask for the classes, they’ll be offered.

“Don’t be afraid to help somebody,” Dezzi said. “By doing that and proving that, we feel it’s working, and we hope people continue to come back this coming year.”

Recently, Dezzi has noticed more interaction from witnesses in emergency situations. If someone gets ill at the tennis center, a group of people is around to tell the medics what’s happening.

“It’s all part of the community effort, and we’re happy to see that,” Dezzi said.

And with more awareness, Skversky sees one problem.

“The only problem, God forbid somebody has a heart attack. They’re going to get crushed because everyone knows CPR now,” he said.




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