HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)- February is American Heart Month, a time to raise awareness about and focus on people’s cardiovascular health.
Tuesday, the American Heart Association met with the homeless community at Rose of Sharon. They served hot lunch to members of the Huntsville homeless community and spent time showing them how to use the hands-only CPR method.
People who are experiencing homelessness are more likely to suffer from higher rates of illness, and chronic physical health conditions. The American Heart Association says by teaching more people how to perform CPR correctly, they can help make sure more people are safe during medical emergencies.
Both sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness also experience adverse health outcomes. Now, people in Huntsville are making sure the homeless community has health knowledge they can use.
“It’s important because our people don’t have a lot of the resources or accessibility to training of this nature,” said Theresa Wilson, rose of Sharon Director
Cardiac arrest is reversible in most cases if it’s treated immediately. CPR is a crucial link in the chain of survival, and with hands-only CPR, it’s easy to help. Now, the American Heart Association says homeless children learning CPR can be beneficial too.
“They may not be able to do heart compressions as hard as an adult. They may not be able to be as effective as an adult. But at the end of the day, your child at least knows that they attempted and they tried to do something on mom or dad or on another family member. So I think it’s empowering to teach not only the adult community but the teens in life and the children in life because anybody can help make a difference,” said Stephanie Kline, American Heart Association Director of Development.
If CPR is administered, the chance of survival doubles or even triples according to the American Heart Association. However, less than half of cardiac arrest victims receive CPR from a bystander.
After having training today homeless people say they feel more empowered to give CPR if needed.
“What she talked about was she just wants us to press on the center of the chest to keep the air flowing. That was the main thing she said, ‘just keep air flowing.’ When they get there, they do the rest. If you break a rib, don’t worry about it just keep the air flowing. I said ‘okay.'” said Slade Sanders.
If you would like to receive CPR training, you can find a course near you on the American Heart Associations’ website.