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CPR class held at Lehigh Valley Mall

By John Craven, Reporter, JCraven@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 16 2013 04:24:55 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 16 2013 05:17:00 PM CST

Folks learn CPR at the mall

WHITEHALL, Pa. -

What do disco and defibrillators have in common?  More than you might think.  Shoppers at Lehigh Valley Mall learned that one Bees Gees hit can keep you "Stayin' Alive."

If someone suddenly had a heart attack, would you know what to do?

"Uh no, not really," said Sienna Kasye of Macungie.

Believe it or not, the Bee Gees could help you save a life.

"The way you're going to do this is, 100 beats per minute," said Jason Smith of the Eastern Pennsylvania EMS Council.

One hundred per minute.  That's how many beats you need for CPR, the same as the disco hit "Stayin' Alive."

The Council taught mall shoppers basic life-saving on Saturday.  It's part of a massive statewide effort.

"We're doing an initiative across the Commonwealth to train 250 thousand people by May," said Smith.

CPR is much easier than most people think.

"You're going to go in the center of the chest," said Smith.  "One hand down, one hand on top, and you're just going to start pressing hard, fast, and deep."

It only takes five minutes to learn.

"I thought it was going to be mouth-to-mouth, but I guess not," said John Angelella of Allentown.

And CPR can now be done with your hands only.

So why don't more people know how to perform basic life-saving?

"I think they're afraid," said Smith.  "People are afraid to get involved."

Emergency responders are hoping this outreach effort changes that.

"Having one extra person trained helps," said John Semonich with Lehigh Co. Special Operations.  "Having 250 thousand across the Commonwealth would be huge."

Diane Czaplicki of Perkasie knows just how valuable CPR training is.

"My son was three years old.  We were getting him shoes, and the man collapsed at the McDonald's," she recalled.  "And he actually lived, and I get a card from him year, thanking me."

The EMS Council plans to visit Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs games in the spring to reach people as well.