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CPR initiative goes to heart of saving lives

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

Longboat Key resident Paul Skversky watched as one of the members in his cycling group crashed to the ground with a cardiac emergency, it inspired him to embark on a healthcare mission.

Since then, Skversky has worked behind the scenes with Longboat Key Fire Chief Paul Dezzi and Tennis Center Director Kay Thayer to further a program that is teaching Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) to hundreds of Longboat residents.

Dezzi told Longboat Key News that a year ago in his department’s strategic plan, he wanted a program to teach CPR. What made the initiative tenable is that the course is a condensed 45-minute hands-on training that is taught to groups of about 20 residents at a time.

“CPR enhances tremendously the chances of survival,” said Dezzi.

The CPR class, which has now been taught to all of Skversky’s bicycling group members, has been developed by the American Heart Association and is referred to as “Hands Only” CPR.

And while Dezzi starting last year, was teaching it to small groups and advertising it to the community, Skversky spoke with Thayer and the two agreed that the intensity presented by tennis activity made it wise to start teaching tennis center members.

In the past weeks, more than 200 Longboaters alone have been trained and now Dezzi, with the help of Skversky, is offering it to any Longboat Key condominium group, homeowner association, or individuals who wish to learn this life-saving skill.

“Our goal is for people to do something before we get there with ambulances and that is exactly what is already happening,” said Dezzi.

Dezzi explained that in about four to six minutes after the heart and lungs stop functioning, the brain begins to die.

Thayer said that there was a cardiac event on tennis court number four a week ago and a fellow player immediately started CPR.

“It was a reminder to all of us that this can happen at any time so we sent out an email to our more than 400 Tennis Center members and we have had a huge response,” said Thayer.

Thayer added that not only are the Tennis Center members signing up for the classes but so are the spouses and they are telling their friends. In fact, the classes, which are scheduled out through February and March so far are pretty full, but there are still times available for both months.

Dezzi said that the training is being provided by the Longboat Key Firefighters Association who do not get paid for this effort and they strive to make the training both fun and comprehensive. He added that if any resident or group wishes to come to a class or wishes for the training to occur at their condominium or their location, to call Tina at the Fire Department at 941-316-1944 to make arrangements.

 

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