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Westminster makes CPR certification available to community

Cecile Murdock, a senior psychology major and employee at Dolores Dore Eccles Health, Wellness and Athletic Center (HWAC), performs a CPR demonstration on a mannequin Oct. 16. Practicing CPR on mannequins in one aspect of the CPR/AED certification courses offered at Westminster College. (Photo by Oakley Matthews)

An estimated 100,000 to 200,000 lives of adults and children could be saved each year if CPR were performed early enough in situations where it was needed, according to the American CPR Training fact page.

Westminster College regularly hosts a variety of American Red Cross CPR/AED and First Aid certification courses. This November, the Fitness, Wellness and Recreation Department is offering four classes with dates and times available on Westminster’s CPR and First Aid webpage.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency lifesaving procedure performed when the heart stops beating. Immediate CPR can double or triple chances of survival if done properly with the correct training, according to The American Heart Association.

Automated external defibrillator (AED) is used when someone is performing CPR. The defibrillator is a medical device that can analyze the heart’s rhythm and deliver an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm.

Two years ago at Northridge High School in Layton, UT, a student’s heart stopped beating after a physical education class. The student’s life was saved because the teachers onsite knew how to properly perform CPR with the use of AED defibrillators.

Laura Iverson-Bastiani, the assistant director of fitness, wellness and recreation at Westminster, said many jobs require a CPR/AED certification. Every employee and coach that works at the Dolores Dore Eccles Health, Wellness and Athletic Center (HWAC) is required to be certified and take review classes each year, according to Iverson-Bastiani.

A map showing the location of six automated external defibrillators (AED) on Westminster College’s campus. AEDs deliver electric shocks to restore the heart’s normal function and are designed to be usable by people with little or no medical training. (Photo courtesy Office of Marketing and Communication)

“Typically the classes are done between 3-4 hours, depending on which certification class it is,” Iverson-Bastiani said. “We offer classes on campus as a convenience for the Westminster community so no one has to go off campus to become certified.”

Every CPR/AED certification class on campus is taught by either Iverson-Bastiani or Traci Siriprathane, the director of fitness, wellness and recreation at Westminster.

The classes are designed to help attendees identify emergencies, make appropriate decisions for first-aid care and eliminate potentially dangerous conditions in environments they come across, according to Iverson-Bastiani.

The American Heart Association says CPR can be used to treat victims of electric shocks, heart attacks, drowning, severe allergic reactions, choking, drug overdoses and suffocation. And for every minute without CPR, the survival rate of cardiac arrest victims decreases by 10 percent.

There is no danger of harming a person who might not need defibrillation because an AED diagnoses dangerous heart rhythms and responds accordingly, according to The National Safety Council. AEDs are user-friendly and even “talk” the user through the process.

“In Utah, you don’t have to be certified in CPR/AED in order to be covered by the good samaritan laws,” Siriprathane said. “Utah has a special addendum called the Utah Sudden Cardiac Survival Act that protects you when you use an AED or do CPR even if you aren’t certified.”

Up until three months ago, Westminster had three AEDs. Two were located in HWAC and one in the campus patrol vehicle. AEDs can cost anywhere between $1500-$3000 depending on the model. Three more AEDs have been placed in the high traffic areas on campus and can be located on Westminster’s accessible college map.

For Cecile Murdock, a senior psychology major who works as a reception attendant at HWAC, CPR is something she has known since she was a junior in high school.

“I have been CPR/AED certified for seven years now,” said Murdock. “I take review classes every year since. You just never know when an opportunity may arise that you’ll need to have this knowledge. It’s so much better to be prepared and worth the time to become certified.”  


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Oakley is a senior communication major who someday soon hopes to work in the fashion and beauty industry. Currently, she is interning with Michelle Leo Events gaining experience to lead her into the industry. When she has five minutes, she likes to catch up on the latest trends, play with her dogs and try to be a yogi aficionado.

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