Susan Wilkins
Special Projects Coordinator

For more than four years, Pocahontas Memorial Hospital has been offering CPR and First Aid classes for community members.  During that time, CPR mannequins were obtained through an agreement with the American Heart Association in exchange for providing a certain number of classes each year.  The classes have grown in size and are now offered at least every other month, and sometimes more.  When recent regulations changed the type of training mannequins that needed to be used for the classes, Pocahontas Memorial Hospital Auxiliary stepped up.

Diane Nichols, Respiratory Therapist and certified American Heart Association CPR trainer, and Katie Brown, Human Resources Director, reached out to the Auxiliary. 

“We had to have these new mannequins if we wanted to keep the classes,” Nichols said.  And the Auxiliary was more than happy to help.  The Auxiliary holds various fundraisers throughout the year to help fund improvements and projects at the hospital, in addition to running a gift shop inside the hospital.

With funding from the Auxiliary, two complete training sets were purchased.  Each set includes two adult mannequins, two baby mannequins, and one youth, in addition to an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) trainer.  Training includes how to use an AED, a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart.

The shock can potentially stop an irregular heartbeat and allow a normal rhythm to resume following sudden cardiac arrest.  AEDs are now located in many public areas and schools in case of emergency and can be used by non-medical staff.  The trainer gives students a realistic AED experience, duplicating the size and weight of actual AEDs.  The trainer allows you to switch from adult to child mode and gives scenarios and prompts for using the equipment.  

More than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of the hospital each year.  In 2015, sudden cardiac arrest mortality in the US was 366,807.

CPR, especially if administered immediately after cardiac arrest, can double or triple a person’s chance of survival. About 90 percent of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest die. CPR, which stands for Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation, is an important skill that everyone should learn.  You never know when you may need to know CPR to save the life of a family member or perhaps a complete stranger.  Just seconds of a person being unable to breathe can cause irreversible brain damage. 

The next class will be held on Friday, March 8, at 12:30 p.m. 

Space is limited, so please pre-register for the class with Diane Nichols at dnichols@pmhwv.org

The class will last approximately three hours.  You only need to attend one class to become certified.  The cost to obtain certification is $10 for CPR and $25 for CPR/First Aid. 

Do yourself – and your loved ones – a favor.  Get certified in CPR.