Kayla McDougal, 23, and Brandi Brockhouse, 23, both of Bettendorf, knelt over the mannequins provided for the annual CPR Saturday training at the Putnam Museum in Davenport.
With help from instructor John Guyer of Wapello, Iowa, each placed their hands on a mannequin’s chest and slowly pushed until they heard a click. Then they let go.
Slowly, the two women, along with 15 other people in the class, pushed a little faster until they reached a smooth rhythm.
Brian Jacobsen, EMS coordinator for the Davenport Fire Department, watched and congratulated the students for their good work.
“This is our 17th year for CPR Saturday,” he said. “We’ve had about 75 people show up today, but that’s 75 people who can now help save a life.”
During the afternoon, there were two classes on adult and child CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and one class on infant CPR. The courses also included practice on the Heimlich maneuver for someone who is choking. Each of the classes lasted about an hour.
McDougal said it had been three years since her last CPR training.
“I’m a CNA (certified nursing assistant) at The Fountains in Bettendorf, so it was time I updated my training. It had expired,” she said.
Brockhouse was brought to the event by McDougal, and Brockhouse said she was glad to have come with.
“If something happens to someone and I’m there, I feel more comfortable that I can start CPR,” Brockhouse said.
But something seemed to be missing from the CPR classes. Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation for adults was left out, although it was taught in the infant CPR session.
“We teach mouth-to-mouth for infant CPR because, as a general rule, you don’t find cardiac diseases in children,” said Jean Schaefer, a respiratory therapist at Genesis Medical Center and a member of the research faculty for the American Heart Association. “You usually see cardiac events in adults, but with an infant it’s usually respiratory arrest.”
This was the first year for teaching hands-only adult CPR, Jacobsen said.
Chuck Gipson, the quality and education officer for the Medic EMS ambulance service, said some surveys conducted over the years have shown that adults are hesitant to put their mouth on the mouth of other people in an effort to resuscitate them.
“People are reluctant because they’re worried about transmission of diseases the victim may have,” he said. “It’s a valid concern.
“The key is to do something and then the first responders, once they’re on-scene, will get oxygen started on the victim,” he said. “There’s enough oxygen in the body to keep the victim alive until we get there.”
The main thing, Jacobsen said, is to keep the blood circulating.
“You want to do something,” he said. “Even if your technique is not perfect, doing something is better than doing nothing. Any CPR is better than no CPR.”
He said a woman had asked him about the potential for breaking someone’s ribs while doing chest compressions. “I told her that can happen, but the main thing is do to something.”
Adeline and John Tse of Bettendorf attended the training for the first time.
He said that it would have been nice to learn mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
“I think it’s between spouses, it’s all right, but between strangers, no,” he added.
Tse said he would visit Google.com once he got home and see whether he could learn mouth-to-mouth resuscitation via the Internet.
“You don’t really learn that portion well until you practice,” he said.