CPR Training

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, also known as CPR, has probably not been something most of us would think about on a day-to-day basis. Millions of people were watching when Buffalo Bills safety, 24-year-old Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest on the field while playing the Bengals.  

The dramatic scene that unfolded on live TV underscored the importance of having someone with CPR training nearby. In Hamlin’s case it made the difference between life and death. His heartbeat was restored on the field, and he was transferred to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. 

Warning signs can include shortness of breath, a pounding heart, weakness, and chest discomfort. Often, cardiac arrest happens without warning. What to do? Recommendations are contact 911 and ask for emergency medical services. If possible, ask a bystander to do this. Check to see if the unconscious person is breathing If none is available, administer CPR by hand. Continue administering CPR until the emergency responders arrive. 

Some Delaware communities have tapped into local resources and health professionals who can provide CPR training and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED). Paynter’s Mill, in Milton, is one of them. Recently, the community hosted a CPR training session for interested residents. Lydia Schmierer, Aquatics Director at Sussex Academy provided the training for about 15 attendees. She maintains that CPR and First Aid are critical components of aquatic training which has been involved with for over 30 years.  

“CPR is an emergency lifesaving procedure performed when the heart stops beating, she explained. “Immediate CPR can double or triple chances of survival after cardiac arrest”. Schmierer says that 70 percent of Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrests cardiac arrest instances take place in one’s home/residence, followed by public settings (18.8%) and nursing homes (11.2%). 

Paynter’s Mill residents Jean-Marie Day and Rick Wunderlich, a retired physician, organized the training session with help from the community’s property manager. Schmierer had previously given a CPR training at Senators where Day’s sister, a retired nurse, lives. 

Like Senators, Paynter’s Mill keeps an AED in the club house near the pool. An AED is a medical device designed to analyze the heart rhythm and deliver an electric shock to victims of ventricular fibrillation to restore the heart rhythm to normal. Ventricular fibrillation is the uncoordinated heart rhythm most often responsible for sudden cardiac arrest. 

Day firmly believes in taking every precaution for maintaining one’s health.  

”People are living longer, we should do everything we can to be educated on helping out in an emergency including a class if it will assist others”, she says. She said the Paynter’s Mill effort was not difficult to organize and she recommends that other communities do something similar. “It was really just putting it out to the community, gauging interest, coordinating a date and time and cost”, she said.  

She also knows the importance of getting and staying fit. She runs, participates in water aerobics, and takes classes at the Lewes Activity Center. She keeps her mind active with puzzles and books, but she also claims that she is a “big proponent of sticky notes and lists!”  

Schmierer’s workshop attendees paid a modest fee of $10 to cover costs. She is returning to Paynter’s Mill in the spring at no charge to conduct a review around the community’s pool for potential safety issues.  

  The Sussex Academy Aquatic Center offers community outreach which includes “HANDS-ONLY CPR”, AED, 1st Aid, Water Safety and facility inspections. It also offers First Aid/CPR/AED courses all in a selection of online, remote and in-person instructor-led course formats.  

Contact Lydia A. Schmierer, Aquatic Director at Sussex Academy Aquatic Center via email lydia.schmierer@saas.k12.de.us  

By Mary Jo Tarallo, Guest Journalist

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Mary Jo Tarallo spent much of her career in public relations with various non-profits and spent 40 years involved with the ski industry as a journalist, public relations director for a national trade association and as executive director of the Learn to Ski and Snowboard initiative. Prior to her ski industry involvement she worked for the Maryland International Center in Baltimore and United Way of Central Maryland. She won a Gold Award for TV programming for a United Way simulcast that starred Oprah Winfrey. She has been cited for her work by numerous organizations. Mary Jo grew up in Baltimore, attended the University of Maryland and Towson University, lived in Washington, DC for 21 years and has been a full time resident of Rehoboth Beach and Milton since May 2019.  

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