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Paramedics Give Lessons in CPR to Relatives of Ill

April 04, 1998|DEBRA CANO

If Tracy Morgan ever has to call 911 again to get help for her father, she'll know how to give him cardiopulmonary resuscitation until paramedics arrive.

Morgan was among 20 Anaheim residents who this week took part in an unusual free class geared toward those who have called 911 to summon help for heart attacks, respiratory problems, drownings, chokings or other life-threatening emergencies.

"These are high-risk people who could use our services again, and, by training their family members, it could save their life," Capt. Tabby Cato said.

Morgan said she was happy for the chance to learn the techniques in the HeartSmart program. Her 64-year-old father, Charley, collapsed at her home in January from a heart attack. Morgan panicked, but her neighbors heard her screams and applied CPR, which helped save her father's life.

"It was the most terrifying experience of my life," Morgan, 39, said. "I now know the feeling of not being able to do anything. You feel powerless. It's critical to know [CPR]."

Several firefighter-paramedics taught the first class, held Thursday at Walnut Manor retirement home.

Fire Chief Jeff Bowman created the program.

"You see how many people suffer from heart problems and die because nobody knows how to deal with it," Bowman said. "The chances of surviving a cardiac situation are significantly greater if someone initiated CPR prior to the arrival of paramedics."

Deanna Lang's motivation for taking the class was her 10-month-old daughter, who has cystic fibrosis. Her husband has had to use CPR twice on the child.

"I'm sure I will need to use it on my baby eventually," Lang, 23, said. "And, when it comes to my baby's life, I want to be able to do the best I can until the paramedics arrive."

Information: (714) 765-4022.

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