A man collapses on the golf course at Rooster Run and a bystander begins applying CPR. Another man runs up with the golf club’s AED (automatic external defibrillator), a device that delivers electric shocks to restore a normal heart rhythm after cardiac arrest. Following the machine’s automated commands, he delivers three shocks and the victim’s heart begins beating again. The man survives.

A Petaluma Junior High School eighth grader sees a man collapse at a rowing event in Oakland. Relying on the training she learned in P.E. class, the 13-year-old student uses CPR chest compressions, keeping the man alive until paramedics arrive. Again, a life is saved.

If you could easily save someone‘s life, would you do it? For most people, the answer is “yes.” Learning CPR is easy. So is using an AED.

In both cases noted above, the life savers said they were simply following the training they had received.

Here in Petaluma we’re lucky to have extensive resources ensuring that anyone interested in learning CPR can be trained on how to perform it. And with the growing availability and ease of using AEDs, the matter of ordinary people saving lives in Petaluma is becoming almost commonplace.

We just need more people trained on CPR and more AEDs placed in local businesses, and that’s also easy to do.

For more than 35 years, the Petaluma Health Care District has operated Healthquest CPR, an American Heart Association-certified training center providing classes and on-site training for thousands of residents, business owners, teachers and students. The program’s goal is to get as many people certified in CPR as possible because more training means more lives saved.

The survival rate from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) without any intervention is just 7 percent; with the prompt use of CPR and an AED, survival rates increase to 70 percent. It’s a no brainer to provide more people with the training necessary to save their loved ones suffering from a fairly common life-threatening health emergency.

Along with Healthquest, PHCD’s HeartSafe Community program provides support to maintain 90 AEDs for access in emergencies at local businesses, public facilities and in all Petaluma area schools. PHCD staff make sure all AEDs are in compliance and work with their partners to ensure the devices are properly maintained and that batteries are replaced every two years so they work during an emergency.

If you are interested in learning CPR skills to potentially save a life, call the PHCD at 285-2143 or go to phcd.org and click Healthquest CPR. If you’d like to see an AED device installed at a local business, go to phcd.org and click HeartSafe community.