Project Heart Start offers free CPR training

June 4, 2014 • Local News

Veronica Silva, a cardiovascular sonographer from the New Mexico Heart Institute in Roswell, tells the Kiwanis Club Tuesday about the statewide initiative, Project Heart Start. The program will teach compression-only CPR in free classes across the state on Saturday. In Roswell, the classes will be offered at 9, 10 and 11 a.m. at the New Mexico Heart Institute. (Randal Seyler Photo)


Free classes in hands-only CPR will be offered Saturday at the New Mexico Heart Institute in an effort to train more people in the latest method of life saving.

“A lot of people are hesitant to do the mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing, and this 100 compressions per minute method of hands-only CPR is [auth] being taught as an alternative to the traditional method of CPR,” said Veronica Silva, a cardiovascular sonographer who works at the New Mexico Heart Institute in Roswell.

The weekend event, called Project Heart Start, is part of a statewide initiative to teach people the life-saving method. Classes will be held at 9, 10 and 11 a.m. at the New Mexico Heart Institute, located at 311 W. Country Club Road, Suite 1.

The training not only includes the compression-only CPR, but it also includes the use of an automated external defibrillator. The class will also teach the Heimlich maneuver, which is used to save people who are choking.

A Project Heart Start training session lasts only about 40 minutes and is divided into watching a 12-minute video produced by KOAT-TV and Dr. Barry Ramo, followed by a 15-minute skill session led by a trainer and a short demonstration of an AED.

“This isn’t CPR certification, it’s just teaching people to use the compression-only method,” Silva said Tuesday while speaking to the Roswell Kiwanis Club. “The traditional CPR is still practiced, but it is mostly for health care workers and takes four hours to get certified.”

The Project Heart Start classes are less than an hour, Silva said.

Compression-only or hands-only CPR has only two steps to remember, Silva said.

“First, call 911 and then you push on the center of the chest 100 times per minute, hard and fast,” she said.

Conventional CPR required checking for a pulse, opening the airway and initiating rescue breathing. These components are no longer needed and not part of the compression-only CPR.

“It’s hard to do 20 compressions, but if you need to use it, I think just being involved in the incident will get you going,” Silva said.

During her career in health care, Silva said she has never had to use her CPR skills.

“Thank goodness I have never had to perform CPR in the clinic, but it is nice having the knowledge in case I ever need it.”

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