Demand Rises For CPR Classes After Damar Hamlin’s Cardiac Arrest

Mirage residents who participated in the CPR class worked hard to learn what they needed to do in case of cardiac arrest. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)

  BARNEGAT – Not every NFL player can say their actions on the field served as the catalyst for something as important as Damar Hamlin.

  Fans watched in horror as the 24-year-old Buffalo Bills safety collapsed after suffering cardiac arrest. The team’s assistant trainer Denny Kellington sprung into action and delivered CPR.

  CPR saves lives – and Damar Hamlin’s survival makes him the poster child as proof it works.

  According to the American Heart Association (AHA), 88 percent of cardiac arrests happen at home.

   Hamlin’s miraculous recovery continues to serve as an inspiration. Reports are that CPR training will be offered at the Super Bowl.  And, Hamlin also plans to join recruiting efforts on behalf of the AHA to promote CPR training.

  “There’s been more interest in people searching for trainings,” acknowledged Brian Lippai, Chief of Administrative Services/Public Information for the Ocean County Health Department. “We do them regularly at the Health Department and the number of participants continues to grow each year.”

Barnegat First Aid Squad members held a class on CPR. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)

  Humans aren’t the ones who stand to benefit from CPR administration. According to Lippai, the health department has also seen an increase in residents wanting pet CPR classes as well. Lippai said the training benefited him on a personal level.

  “I’ve taken the classes and found them to be fantastic,” Lippai said. “I was so fortunate to save one of my pet’s lives after a choking incident.”

  CPR training classes are offered regularly throughout many area hospitals. Medical facilities, fire departments and EMTs also provide instruction on the life-saving techniques.

  Many of Barnegat’s senior communities also use their clubhouses as training centers with classes provided by the local first aid squad. Schools have also increased the availability of CPR training.

  Bruno Iamonte, who volunteers for the Barnegat First Aid Squad provides regular instruction to members of the local community.  Recently, he led a class of seniors at the Mirage in the most up to date methods of delivering CPR and the Heimlich maneuver.

  “It’s not one of those things you see in the movies where all of a sudden somebody jumps on it and starts pushing on the chest without doing anything,” began Iamonte. “There’s a whole process and by the time we’re done, I have to feel comfortable that when I put my name on your card – you know what to do if you’re placed in the situation.”

Two of Barnegat’s First Aid Squad demonstrate what to do when someone is choking. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)

  Iamonte distributed a couple of sheets of outlines for further reference. Participants dropped to their knees in front of dummies waiting to be worked on.

  The hours of instruction included understanding the difference between a heart attack and a stroke. Iamonte stressed that CPR should be reserved for times when a person stops breathing, is unresponsive or has no pulse.

  While many of those who took the class had learned CPR previously, Iamonte reminded the guidelines had changed. And, while techniques are similar, it’s critical to know the difference between administering CPR to adults, children and babies.

  The first rule to follow? Call 911 on speaker mode and get help on the way, said Iamonte.

  Going through the motions of delivering CPR might seem exhaustive even in instructional mode. While many people may never need the lessons they learned – one fact remains.

  CPR saves lives – Just ask Damar Hamlin.