In real life, saving lives doesn't happen as easily as it does on TV.
It requires strong and steady hands, quick thinking and a big dose of courage.
“In an emergency, you’re going to find your strength,” said Mike Brynjestad, who operates CPR Central in Coeur d’Alene with his wife, Stacy.
The Brynjestads and many other volunteers with medical and emergency response backgrounds donated their time Thursday to help community members gain that courage during the Keep the Beat event.
Several half-hour sessions, held in the Silver Lake Mall in Coeur d'Alene and Cabela's in Post Falls, provided instruction for hands-only CPR.
"Don’t just stand there; at least start chest compressions," said Mike, who has been certified as a paramedic for 20 years. "There’s a lot of great evidence that shows that this does substantially prolong the person and it may be enough in very short time."
Three four-hour Keep the Beat sessions, held in CPR Central, were dedicated to showing attendees the basics of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid as well as how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED).
"There are a lot of locations that have defibrillators that people aren’t aware of,” Mike said. "Most people don’t know what to do with it. They’re under the impression that, ‘Since that’s a complicated machine I maybe will do some CPR but I don’t want to do that part because I might make a mistake.’ What we need them to do is pull it off and use it."
Having control and confidence while waiting for first responders is important, especially in an emergency, because every second counts.
"If they are able to defibrillate in the first 90 seconds, they could have up to an 80 percent chance of survival in certain cases," Mike said. "We need people to know how to use the equipment that’s put around, and we need more defibrillators out there, too."
More than 1,000 people attended at least one of the training sessions throughout the day. Keep the Beat was organized by 9-11 Training LLC, Coeur d'Alene Fire Department, CPR Central, EMT and Fire Training, Heart Safe, Kootenai County Emergency Management, Kootenai County Fire and Rescue, Kootenai Health, North Idaho Medical Reserve Corps, Panhandle Health District and CDA 2030.
The classes were held as a way to educate people and promote a community that's ready for anything, including telling the difference between a heart attack (which CPR can't really help) and cardiac arrest (which CPR can help).
"One of the 180 actions in our implementation plan has to do with community preparedness," said Nicole Kahler, project manager for Coeur d'Alene 2030. "The intention of (Keep the Beat) was to increase the number of citizens who are properly trained to recognize an emergency, stabilize the situation and help out."
CDA 2030 is a community-based nonprofit aimed at making a bright future for the Lake City. Part of that bright future is looking out for one another and having the ability to assist in life-saving actions if needed.
"We're a really active community. A lot of people hike and hunt where it's hard to get first-responders to," Kahler said. "If you have the confidence to perform this, it could be life-saving for whoever you're with.
"It’s not as broadly taught as we might think," she continued. "Some people just want a refresher. Part of it is being confident in emergency situations because they're very stressful. And just from the response, I would assume there is a need."
Keep the Beat was made possible by a grant from the Herbert D. McAvoy Fund in the Idaho Community Foundation. This fund benefits educational needs in Kootenai County.
For those who missed the Keep the Beat sessions but are interested in CPR, AED and first-aid training, CPR Central offers classes from the basic to the advanced several times a month for varying fees.
Info: www.cprcentral.com or 833-277-2368