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Posted by By Samantha Johnson February 22, 2024 on Mar 9th 2024

Rapid City officials encourage CPR/AED training: Critical lifesaving skills for Heart Health Month

Rapid City officials encourage CPR/AED training: Critical lifesaving skills for Heart Health Month
February is Heart Health Month, and officials are reminding the public about the critical importance of learning CPR and learning how to operate an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) in emergencies.

While many individuals are familiar with CPR, knowing the proper steps to take during an emergency can significantly increase survival rates.

Why is it important to learn CPR/AEDs:

  • Immediate Response - During cardiac arrest, every second counts. CPR and AED training empower individuals to take immediate action while waiting for professional medical help to arrive
  • Maintaining Circulation and Oxygenation - CPR helps maintain blood circulation to vital organs, including the brain and heart, by manually pumping the heart
  • Restarting the Heart - An AED can deliver an electrical shock to the heart, which may restore its normal rhythm
  • Accessibility - AEDs are all over Rapid City and learning how to use an AED increases the likelihood that you'll be able to assist someone experiencing sudden cardiac arrest in various settings
  • Increased Survival Rates - Studies have shown that immediate bystander CPR and early defibrillation with an AED can dramatically increase the chances of survival for individuals experiencing sudden cardiac arrest

Rapid City's Fire Chief, Jason Culberson, emphasizes the importance of CPR education, stating that it can increase the survival rate by 2 to 3 times more than without CPR.

How to get CPR/AED training:

Individuals can learn proper CPR techniques through free 30-minute classes offered by organizations like the American Red Cross, in partnership with the Rapid City Fire Department and the Rapid City Swim Center.

Richard Smith, Executive Director for Central and Western South Dakota's American Red Cross, says that the organization offers a variety of classes around first aid, preparedness, and safety. Their free 30-minute classes, show you how to perform CPR on adults and infants (RCFD and RC Swim Center offer courses as well).

Smith says that there is no cost for just the hands only course, which doesn't give you a certification. But if you want to be certified, that will cost some money. There are 2 styles the Red Cross offers, full in-person classes and a hybrid of online/in-person.

You can call the American Red Cross at (605) 342-4010 for more information about the classes.

What is the PulsePoint App:

As stated above, AED can be found in most public places. But not everyone knows the location of the nearest AED. To address this, the mobile app PulsePoint comes into play.

Connected to 911 dispatch, PulsePoint allows users to view and receive alerts on calls that police, medical, and/or fire departments are responding to. The app also shows where the nearest AED is located that way you can retrieve it without looking for long.

Chief Culberson explains, "In a public area, [if] someone experiences sudden cardiac arrest. When they call 911, it [will] geo-locate that [area] and within walking distance of about 400 yards. If you're within that and you have the CPR alerts on it, will notify you that somebody is in need of CPR in that area. It will also show you where the closest AED is."