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Hoosier hospitality employees get CPR training

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The people who see the most faces on a weekly basis and entertain Indy's booming tourism industry learned hands-only CPR at Victory Field Tuesday.

The American Heart Association trained more than 50 people who work downtown at venues including Lucas Oil Stadium, the Indiana Convention Center and various restaurants.

“You never know what’s going to happen," Indiana Convention Center employee Rita Ramsey said. "I may need to save someone’s life and being in the hospitality industry, it’s a great way of maybe saving an attendee’s life while they’re visiting our convention center.”

Hands-only CPR has only two steps, call 911 and push hard and fast in the center of a person's chest to the beat of the Bee Gee's hit song, "Staying Alive."

When a person goes into cardiac arrest, the response time for someone to begin CPR is critical to the victim's survival.

“Less than 50 percent of the 350,000 annual victims of sudden cardiac arrest receive immediate bystander help, and sadly 90 percent of those victims die,” said Monte Curnutt, chair of the American Heart Association’s Indianapolis board of directors. “When hands-only CPR is performed right away, it doubles the chance of survival."

Some of those survivors attended the training and shared their story.

Erin Long of Carmel was eating dinner with her husband downtown at St. Elmo's when her heart suddenly stopped. A bystander jumped in and immediately started performing CPR. Long, a hospitality employee herself, credits the bystander with saving her life and is glad more people are getting trained.

“We touch so many people in this industry," Long said. "So just to be armed with a little bit a knowledge, a little bit of confidence will go a long way.”

Jim England, another survivor, came back to life after going through a sudden cardiac death while leaving an Ohio State football game, he said.

He wants everyone trained on CPR so when an emergency situations arises, someone has the confidence to step in and not waste valuable time.

“You can do something to keep that person going or at least give them a chance," England said. "You’re not going to hurt them any further by doing CPR, but at least if you’ve had the training, you have the confidence to jump in and do something.”

Participants got a manikin and other resources to take home with the idea they will train coworkers to increase the number of Hoosier hospitality employees who know CPR.