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Take Heart campaign nearing 7,000

Take Heart Woodbury aims to save more lives by teaching residents, those who work in Woodbury and students hands-only CPR. Staff photo by Riham Feshir

Although it started out slow at first, the Take Heart Woodbury campaign has already trained about 10 percent of the city's population in hands-only CPR.

Take Heart Woodbury, which is sponsored by the city's Public Safety Department, kicked off in February of this year.

The campaign didn't attract that many residents at first, said Angela Kain, firefighter/EMT and Take Heart Woodbury public education coordinator.

"The momentum really took off at Woodbury Days," she said, adding that at that point people had seen firefighters/EMTs out and about doing the trainings. "It was beginning to click."

Take Heart Woodbury's goal was to start off training a little over 10 percent of the population in hands only CPR, which totals 7,000 people.

As of last week a total of 6,307 have been trained.

"We are doing wonderfully," Kain said. "We're really excited about our numbers."

Just last week, the team had trained almost 150 students at East Ridge High School in hands-only CPR.

Now that it's a high school requirement for the graduating class of 2014 and 2015, local schools are working with the Take Heart team to get the 30-minute class training done, and add to the campaign's goal as well.

Other training forms have included "walk up and learn," which is about five to 10 minutes, a 15 minute presentation or a classroom session.

After seeing them at Woodbury Days, many businesses, churches and nonprofit groups started inviting the Take Heart team to conduct training sessions on site.

Everything they came across at Woodbury Days was booked in September, Kain said, and they had 31 training sessions in October alone.

"Crossroads (Church) invited us in on a Sunday, which was huge," Kain said, adding that personnel trained about 350 people between Saturday and Sunday services that weekend.

The goal was to get 7,000 people trained in a year. However, the Take Heart campaign will continue on next year and into the future.

The point is to have at least one person who knows hands-only CPR present to help someone who may experience sudden cardiac arrest anywhere in Woodbury.

According to the American Heart Association, sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly.

Statistics show those trained in hands-only CPR will likely step up and take charge of the scene until help arrives.

"It's those first four minutes that we can make the biggest difference in somebody's survival," Kain said.

Moving forward, the Public Safety Department will continue going to schools, churches and businesses to do hands-only CPR training.

Another part of the initiative encourages all businesses and churches that have Automated External Defibrillators (AED) to register them so firefighters/EMTs know where they are.

Those went from two registered to 20 so far, Kain said.

The point is to help them maintain the machines properly and possibly put them in the police dispatch system to help with cardiac arrest emergencies before their arrival.

Kain said when the team knows where those AEDs are, they will periodically send reminders to change pads, update batteries and make sure the equipment isn't expired.

"It's sad to have that AED on site and potentially not have it work," she said.

To learn more about the Take Heart campaign or to register an AED, go to

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.