PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Saving someone’s life could be in your hands if you learn CPR.

“I think there’s a fear factor, that a lot of people feel that it’s a very complex procedure,” says Donamarie Wilfong of West Penn Hospital’s STAR Center, a simulation lab.

KDKA-TV Anchor Susan Koeppen was saved with this heart-pumping maneuver. But for people whose hearts stop, bystander CPR is done in only one in three instances and only half the time it’s done right.

“The hardest part is continuing to do compressions,” says a CPR trainer as he demonstrated the technique.

In general, it’s not as hard as it seems. And there are many places where you can learn.

“It’s 30 compressions to two ventilations, at a rate of a hundred a minute,” explains Anthony Cuda, an instructor at the STAR Center. “They’re actually using a song now — the Bee Gees ‘Staying Alive’ to give the proper rate.”

Getting on your disco groove in a critical situation doesn’t bring anyone back, per se, but keeping the blood pumping keeps the body going until shocks can be given and other emergency life support can be started. It’s most effective if compressions begin within six minutes of the heart stopping.

It’s still called CPR for cardio pulmonary resuscitation. But in cases of a witnessed cardiac arrest in an adult, you can forgo the rescue breaths and just do compressions. There is still enough oxygen in the bloodstream. The important thing is to keep the blood circulating to all the vital organs.

On Saturday, February 11th, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., you can drop by the simulation center at West Penn Hospital to learn how to do CPR. After a two-hour class, you’ll get a certificate saying you’ve learned how to do it. And maybe someday, you’ll get a chance to save a life.

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West Penn Allegheny STAR Center

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