A female-owned gym in Baxter offers a variety of activities, including indoor cycling classes. Their instructors are all certified through the American Heart Association to perform CPR and use an automated external defibrillator (AED). The owners realized how important this training is and wanted to offer it to the public for free.

Jenny Holmes, the owner of The Wheel in Baxter, was the daughter of a paramedic and was taught on what to do in a serious life-or-death situation. Now married to a firefighter, she wanted to partner with Essentia Health’s Take Heart program and give back to her community.

The Take Heart program was started in 2005 and later brought to Essentia Health in 2010. It’s made to train the general public on how to perform hands-only CPR and how one should use and operate an AED.

During the hands-only CPR training, participants will be shown a step-by-step guide called the 3 C’s in case of an emergency.

“The first thing you’re going to do is check for responsiveness by gently tapping and shouting, and you’re gonna look for any abnormal breathing or a lack of breathing and no movement,” explained Colette Fitterer, Essentia Health Take Heart coordinator. “And then the next thing you’re going to do is send someone to call 911 and go get an available AED if there’s one nearby. And then the third “C” is compressions, you’re gonna start doing compressions at a rate of 100-120 a minute, pressing two inches in depth.”

Fitterer also notes that everyone calls 911 but may not step in because they fear they could do something wrong.

“It’s better to do something than to do nothing. That gives the person a better chance of survival,” adds Fitterer. “You actually can’t do compressions wrong – put your hand in the center of the chest, push hard, push fast.”

If you are put in a situation to save a life, you should only stop CPR if the person wakes up or you notice that they start moving. If that not is not the case, continue until the ambulance arrives.

The American Heart Association estimates that 100 to 200,000 lives of adults and children could be saved each year if CPR is performed early enough.

The Wheel will hold another free CPR and AED training session at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 12. You can register by emailing [email protected].

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