Learn a lifesaving skill for free at CPR Palooza in El Segundo

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (KABC) -- The first week in June is National CPR Awareness week, and to help get people trained in the life-saving skill, UCLA, the American Heart Association and ABC7 have partnered to hold CPR Palooza on Saturday. It's a massive, free, day-long event offering three sessions to learn CPR.

If you already know it, it's a good opportunity to refresh your CPR skills.

CPR is a technique that takes very little time to learn, yet knowing it can help save lives. That's something Eva Nertin Zelder learned after she had a cardiac arrest.

"I was playing tennis, fortunately for me, with a nurse," Zelder said.

Paramedics were called and worked on Zelder for about 30 minutes. She said she apparently flat-lined four times.

Once at UCLA Medical Center, doctors gave her more CPR and saved her life.

"CPR is a very important technique that all of us should learn," said Dr. Ali Nsair. "It's very simple."

Nsair, who is a cardiologist at UCLA Health, said approximately 400,000 people a year suffer cardiac arrest at home, but less than a third of them receive CPR.

Nsair explains if you do hands-only CPR on a person post-cardiac arrest, you can double or even triple their chances of survival.

Simple but forceful chest compressions can help to keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain along with other vital organs. When the heart stops, experts say the lack of blood flow can cause brain damage in as little as eight to 10 minutes, so time is critical.

"If you're doing CPR, you're getting flow to the brain and parts of your body as well to make sure those organs are perfused until 911 arrives," Nsair said.

If you see someone go down, experts say: call 911 first, or ask someone in the crowd to call. Then, start chest compressions immediately.

"Just make sure the patient or person that's had cardiac arrest is on a flat surface and start CPR," Nsair explained.

The simple technique requires pushing in the center of the chest about 100 times a minute until help arrives. And don't worry about breathing; hands-only CPR is recommended until paramedics get there.

The CPR Palooza is Saturday, June 2 at the UCLA Health Training Center. People aged 10 to 100 are welcome, but registration is required. Here's a link to the registration site https://www.uclahealth.org/lakers/cpr-palooza.

You're encouraged to sign up early because classes are filling up fast. Besides the training sessions, you can get a free blood pressure screening, meet the Laker Girls and get a free T-shirt. Plus, there will be lots of other fun giveaways. So, sign up and save a life.
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