The Virginia Tech Rescue Squad has developed a new public-access CPR education program to help students, employees, and community members get the training they need to act quickly when a family member, friend, or colleague is in need. The new CPR education program is based on research from the American Heart Association.

October is Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month; in recognition of the importance of learning CPR, the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad is raising awareness about its new class offerings available to members of the Hokie Nation and beyond. The goal of the program, which began hosting classes earlier this semester, is to educate members of the Virginia Tech and Blacksburg communities so that they can step in and provide intervention in an emergency situation prior to the arrival of emergency medical services.

“We want to teach participants how to provide the most beneficial intervention for a victim of cardiac arrest before the rescue squad arrives,” said Virginia Tech Rescue Squad Chief Chris Eyestone, a senior majoring in agribusiness and international studies from Blacksburg, Virginia. “Those three to five minutes spent waiting are crucial for the patient’s final outcome.”

With administrative coordination from the LewisGale Regional Health System, eight student instructors who are members of the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad teach the four-hour CPR class on an as-requested basis. Available in scaled offerings for both laypeople and first responders, the classes will be taught on a regular schedule beginning in January.

During the course, students learn how to face a life-threatening emergency like cardiac arrest with poise. Anyone who is interested in becoming certified is invited to participate no matter their age or level of experience. Participants will receive their official American Heart Association certification within days of completing the program.

“Effective, early bystander intervention through CPR is what saves lives,” said Training Lieutenant Kyle Mewshaw, a senior majoring in human nutrition, foods, and exercise from Annapolis, Maryland.

“The new classes will also give the community the opportunity to interact with VT Rescue and understand what goes into emergency medical services care,” said CPR Coordinator Liz McAuliff, a junior from Fredericksburg, Virginia, majoring in human nutrition, foods, and exercise. “We want to serve the community in more ways than by just responding to 911 calls.”

Registration for the program is $8 to $25, depending on university affiliation. To register or for more information email McAuliff or visit the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad's website.

Written by Abbey O’Farrell.

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