The 13th annual “Be a Heart Starter!” training day, which has proven to save lives in Acadiana, will be held May 4 at the Cajundome.

Organizers say since training began in 2000, the survival rate from sudden cardiac arrest in Acadiana has increased from 1 percent to more than 30 percent.

During the last 12 years, nearly 15,000 Acadiana residents have been trained in bystander CPR at this nationally recognized event. Last year saw the second largest turnout when 1,538 people were trained.

Being prepared at home or having employees trained at a business, combined with the rapid response of first responders, makes Acadiana a safer place to live. Statistics shpw that 75 percent of all sudden cardiac arrests happen at home, and many times no one knows how to administer CPR.  If no bystander CPR is provided, chances of survival are reduced 7 to 10 percent with each minute of delay.

“This event is possible due to the sponsorship and volunteer support of the Acadiana medical community and other community-minded companies and organizations that believe in making Acadiana a safer place to live,” Dr. Charles Wyatt, the event's founder and medical director says in a press release. “We encourage everyone to register for this year’s event, even if you have taken the course before. You never know when CPR training can save a friend or family member.”

This free event is open to anyone middle school-age or older. Two two-hour sessions will be held at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. 

In addition to CPR training, there will be demonstrations on administering CPR to an infant and child along with how an automatic external defibrillator works in saving a victim’s life. There will be special training table areas for participants who are not able to kneel comfortably during training. Also, a segment of the course will focus on stroke recognition.

Although there is no cost, advanced registration is requested by calling toll-free 877-242-4277 or going online here.

Each participant will receive a “Be A Heart Starter!” T-shirt and a training course participation certificate.

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