Save a life with CPR training

The American Heart Association says effective CPR can double or triple a heart attack victim’s chance of survival. However, only one-third of victims receive CPR from a bystander.

Northeast State, the Greater Kingsport Family YMCA, Parish Nurses, and The Neil Danehy Heart Foundation want to improve those odds. To do so, they recently joined forces and resources to provide affordable, convenient CPR training.

The partnership was spurred by Delores Bertuso and Joy Eastridge, Parish Nurses for St. Dominic Parish and First Broad Street United Methodist Church, respectively.

The nurses needed a central location that would have space to train, to store CPR manikins and supplies, and to allow for regular scheduling of monthly classes.

“We were looking for a way to provide affordable CPR training for the community,” Eastridge said. “Something that would let people know when classes were scheduled, where they were taught, and how much they would cost.”

After a bit of networking and the pooling of resources, a plan came together. Northeast State stepped up to provide the administration of CPR classes, the Kingsport YMCA donated a designated space for instruction, and The Neil Danehy Heart Foundation funded the manikins and supplies for training.

“CPR training can be expensive, preventing many individuals from receiving valuable, life-saving training,” said Myra Danehy of The Neil Danehy Heart Foundation. “The Foundation is very pleased to be a partner in this critical endeavor, knowing, without a doubt, that our joint effort will save lives.”

Danehy’s husband, Neil, died of a sudden heart attack in 2005, just two weeks after his 50th birthday. Danehy, along with family friends and daughters, Rebecca and Leslie, created The Neil Danehy Heart Foundation in 2006 to increase awareness of heart disease and provide CPR training. All funds raised by the Foundation promote heart health and provide resources to the community.

CPR training gives students the ability to save lives.
CPR training gives students the ability to save lives.

The Foundation funded eight complete training sets, which include eight adult manikins, eight infant manikins, AED trainers, and associated equipment and supplies.

The Greater Kingsport Family YMCA, which opened its new facilities in May 2013 on Meadowview Parkway, provided a central location by donating use of its large community room for free. The location is easily accessible to most of the Tri-Cities as well as Southwest Virginia. The room also provides a secure storage space for the manikins and supplies.

“They needed one place to host CPR classes for the community as well as store the manikins and supplies,” said Abigail Weaver, YMCA marketing and communications director. “We had the perfect space for it. It lets us give back to the community, and it’s a win-win situation for all involved.”

Weaver also said the partnership is perfect for the Kingsport YMCA, allowing its employees to receive CPR certification or re-certification on site.

CRP class students have their new skills put to the test.
CPR students put their new skills to the test.

Northeast State joined the partnership to administer the program. Tasks include scheduling classes, registering participants, arranging for instructors, issuing certificates to participants who complete the course, and replenishing supplies.

“Judging from the demand, it’s obvious the service was much needed,” said Cindy Tauscher, director of Workforce Solutions at Northeast State. “We feel it will get even more successful as the word gets out.”

There are two types of CPR training offered: Heartsaver® CPR AED and Basic Life Support (BLS). Bertuso said the Heartsaver® class is geared for laypersons, while the BLS is aimed at health-care professionals.

Heartsaver® is a video-based, instructor-led course that teaches adult/child CPR and AED use, as well as how to relieve choking. BLS provides training in how to recognize several life-threatening emergencies, provide CPR, use an AED, and relieve choking. BLS also requires a written exam. Parish nurses teach the Heartsaver® classes, while Northeast State arranges for BLS instructors.

Currently, the classes are taught on an alternating basis the first Thursday of each month from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. BLS is on the schedule for Jan. 8 and Heartsaver® for Feb. 5. Also, the College can schedule additional classes for groups or companies on an “as-needed” basis.  The Heartsaver® fee is $25, while BLS is $50. Bertuso said classes can handle 6-8 persons per instructor.

“We should all challenge ourselves to take a course,” Bertuso said. “You never know when you’re going to be put in a situation that requires CPR – so it’s good to be confident in your abilities when it happens.”

To register for a class, contact Diana Harrison at 423.354.5520 or

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