RICHLAND, Wash. – The Richland Fire Department is teaching the community how to perform CPR and use an AED device absolutely free. They have partnered with Heartsafe Communities to shine a light on how you can save lives.
The first seven days of June are CPR and AED awareness week according to the American Heart Association. Captain Josh Smith of the Richland Fire Department says it’s their mission to protect the quality of life.
Smith has been working as a firefighter for the last five years and as an EMT for the last 20 years.
He tells me as a community we can’t just rely on paramedics but says there’s a different approach to helping your fellow man, Heartsafe Communities.
“The concept for Heartsafe Communities is really a holistic approach to cardiac survival,” said Smith.
He tells me their program stands out above others due to teaching what a cardiac arrest looks like and teaching how to overcome those emotional barriers.
The RFD and more recently the Pasco Fire Department offer free courses on how to do CPR and work an AED device. Smith says if you’re hesitant to help someone who is in cardiac arrest after learning these life-saving techniques, don’t worry, you’re protected.
“The Good Samaritan Act covers you,” said Smith. “So if you perform compressions and they don’t survive, there’s no liability there.”
Smith says in 2022, the City of Richland along with Kadlec Regional Medical Center and other agencies have trained more than 25,000 people in this program.
“The city of Richland produced 14% of our patients neurologically intact,” he says. “Meaning that eight of 57 of our cardiac arrests patients survived with little to no deficit. In Washington State that was 10.5%, and nationwide was 7%. Even though the city of Richland was higher statewide and nationally that’s still not good enough for us.”
Smith told me he’s very proud of what the community has and is accomplishing.
“When we arrive on a scene, and we know that we’ve prepared our community to provide hands-on CPR to use AEDs, we now begin to respond to these patients with a ton of hope,” Smith said.
Both the RFD and the PFD are looking for opportunities to train people to assist them with these life-saving techniques. All you have to do is give them a call and they will come to you.