3,000 Train In CPR At Space Coast Stadium in Viera
By Ed Pierce, Managing Editor // June 9, 2012
(IMAGES BY KEITH BETTERLEY)
BREVARD COUNTY • VIERA, FLORIDA – Thousands of residents of all ages learned how to save a life for free Saturday in the 4th annual Operation CPR event at Space Coast Stadium.
Participants received instruction in hands-on cardiopulmonary resuscitation, how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) and how to provide relief for infants that are choking.
“We’ve been planning this for the past seven months,” said David Schmitt, supervisor of The Training Center of Health First. “We put this on annually because it’s important for members of our community to know how to save lives in the event of an emergency.”
Schmitt said more than 3,000 individuals ranging in age from 5 to adult received instruction and training.
“We had more than 130 volunteers and Health First associates out here to give instruction,” Schmitt said. “That group includes two physician assistants and a number of paramedics and nurses.”
He said participants also were taught how to recognize sudden cardiac arrest and when to call 9-1-1 for help.
At the conclusion of the training, would-be rescuers received a certificate for American Heart Association’s “Friends and Family CPR Training,” a free “Trained to Save a Life” T-shirt, one free ticket voucher to any Brevard County Manatees game from July 4 to July 9 – and a certificate for a free personal gourmet pizza from Pizza Gallery & Grill in Viera.
Pizza Gallery’s owner Chris Conneen attended the event and has served as one of the event’s sponsors for the past three years.
“Our purpose is to enrich the community and provide them with an incredible dining experience,” Conneen said. “I actually learned CPR myself here at this event two years ago.”
He said that fortunately he has not had to use what he learned in CPR training yet, but feels confident he would know what to do in the event something happened.
“It’s important to learn how to save a life,” Conneen said. “What could be more important than that?”
Besides receiving valuable life-saving training, particpants were able to tour the Brevard Zoo’s education station, tour a Brevard County Sheriff’s Department Bomb Squad truck, meet Brevard County Fire Rescue personnel and see an actual fire truck and firefighting equipment.
Participants also were able to help save lives in another way Saturday as several Big Red Bus collection vehicles were on hand for blood donations.
There was a special landing by the Health First Air Ambulance First Flight helicopter and kids got to look over the helicopter up close and got to talk to the pilot first-hand.
Kids also were entertained by a balloon artist and a magician following the event.
The huge turnout Saturday pleased Health First organizers. When the event was launched in 2009, some 125 people attended to be trained in CPR.