FIRE SMART: CPR saves lives

On Saturday, this year’s mass CPR training will take place at Clarence Fulton Secondary School.

About 44,000 Canadians will die in 2015 from heart attacks. Seventy per cent of these heart attacks will happen at home and the average person will wait up to four hours before seeking help.

This is just unacceptable — these statistics need to change.

This need for change has been the motivation for Rotary Club of Vernon Silver Star to make it possible for thousands of people to learn CPR through their mass CPR training program. From its beginning in 1989, the mass CPR program has been making an undeniably significant contribution toward keeping our community safe.

Vernon Silver Star Rotary has partnered with Vernon Fire Rescue Services (VFRS) to deliver the training program, which continues to be popular and well attended by people wanting to protect themselves against this notorious killer of Canadians.

Mass CPR training educates the public in basic emergency CPR protocols that can be applied immediately in the case of someone having a heart attack. Statistics show that the earlier CPR is started on a patient, the higher the probability of it being successful. It makes sense that when more people are able to perform CPR, the chances of it being applied early when it is most needed is increased substantially.

Your lifestyle and the healthy choices you make play a huge role in whether or not you will have a heart attack or survive one if it happens. As well, the chances of surviving a heart attack are increased considerably by having someone with the knowledge and capacity to deal with this type of emergency available when they are needed.

The first medical responder (FMR) program delivered by VFRS helps to supplement the effectiveness of a quick medical response and is designed to support a very busy B.C. Ambulance Service. The FMR program has been directly responsible for saving six lives in 2014 with the early application of defibrillation — and in most of those cases, CPR was initially applied by a friend or relative. The significance of these two initiatives in our community can be easily equated to the number of people who are alive today and enjoying more time with their families as a result of a quick medical response supported by the early application of CPR.

On Saturday, this year’s mass CPR training will take place at Clarence Fulton Secondary School. The course involves only two hours of your time — a very small investment that is guaranteed to make a big difference in your life and possibly in that of someone else’s. There are three starting times to choose from: 9, 10 and 11 a.m. Each block of training is comprised of one hour of lecture and one hour of hands-on training. Come early and enjoy breakfast supplied by the Silver Star Rotary Club from 8 to 9 am.

Early medical response and CPR play a significant part in the process of saving lives and, partnered together, make the chances of a person surviving a heart attack much greater.

Help us help you! Make your new year’s resolution a healthy one. Promise yourself that you will make healthier choices regarding your lifestyle and come join us on Saturday to learn emergency CPR.

Give yourself the opportunity to be able to provide the advantage of helping when help is really needed — chances are you could be saving the life of someone very close to you.

For more information, visit Vernon Silver Star Rotary’s website at

Lawrie Skolrood is a deputy fire chief with Vernon Fire Rescue Services.