Public learns to save a life with a breath of fresh air

Paramedics taught the public how to properly administrate CPR and hopefully help save a life.

Paramedics taught the public how to properly administrate CPR and hopefully help save a life (Jennifer Stienstra/ The Sheridan Sun)


Omar Elghamry was one of many who attended an event held in Celebration Square in Mississauga last Thursday aimed at teaching people of all ages how to do  CPR.

Cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) involves pressing down on someone’s chest and pumping the heart when the person has gone into cardiac arrest or isn’t breathing.

“This event is pretty much to just spread public awareness about CPR and to provide the community with a hands-on access to learn the technique and the basics of ‘push hard, push fast.’ We just want to get it out there that if anyone does CPR they can essentially assist in saving a life,” said Kara Reid, one of the paramedics at the seminar.

Sara Kissick, also a paramedic, stressed that it is important for the public to know how to do CPR.

“The average response time is six to eight minutes for the paramedics or for Mississauga Fire to show up and, in that time, as a bystander they could be continuing to pumping the heart by doing CPR,” Kissick said.


Elghamry thinks it’s good that people are being taught how to save someone’s life.

“If someone has a problem and they can’t take their breath, they are teaching us how to rescue them,” he said.

Not only did paramedics teach CPR, they also showed attendees how to use a PAD, or public access defibrillator, a small portable device that sends electric shocks through the body of an unconscious person to restart their heart. Kissick said they don’t want the public to be intimidated by the defibrillators.

“It’s great for people to know that a) it’s completely simple to use and b) it should be used on anyone that’s unconscious and not breathing. So it’s just getting people comfortable with being able to approach it because it’s scary for the public  and it shouldn’t be,” she said. Held the day before Halloween, the seminar also incorporated zombies to encourage children to attend the event.

“[It’s] to make it a fun event to get everyone involved, kids of all ages. I think the youngest we’ve got is three and we have people up to age 60, so it’s just getting anyone involved to teach them the skills,” said Reid.

Kissick said the cold weather probably cut into attendance and said that next time they might pick somewhere indoors, such as at Square One, to teach people life-saving procedures.

“It’s important to get people to know the skills, get involved, not be afraid and to call 911,” said Reid.