Heart Safe Plymouth Initiative Aims To Save Lives
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in mid-spring, many activities ground to a halt. That included ongoing training for the Heart Safe Plymouth initiative. The Rotary Club of Plymouth partners with Allina Health to train residents on CPR in the event someone experiences sudden cardiac arrest.
“Heart Safe Plymouth started in 2012 and we were one of the first 10 communities to be designated by the American Heart Association, as a heart safe community,” said Norm Okerstrom, heart safe trainer for the Rotary Club.
Okerstrom shared the story of his son, Teddy, who collapsed in 2009 during a summer conditioning club. Teddy was saved by the use of CPR as well as an automated external defibrillator (AED). An AED is a portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest.
Heart Safe has trained more than 6,300 people. The one-hour free training sessions are open to anyone interested to learn. Participants learn hands-only CPR without mouth-to-mouth and how to use an AED.
“We’ve been able to donate about 10 to 12 AEDs within our community,” said Okerstrom. “They run between $1,200 and $2,200 depending on the brand and model.”
Okerstrom explained that several lives in nearby communities were saved because of the Heart Safe efforts. And thanks to the Plymouth Rotary, Okerstrom got the opportunity to be part of the need.
“I found out really what rotary was about, that’s putting service above self and helping community become better place,” he said.
There’s no word yet on when Heart Safe Plymouth will pick back up. But the Rotary Club of Plymouth has still been active in the community during the pandemic. One of its projects involved donating money for tablets so seniors in senior-living facilities can better connect with their families.