EASTON — Talbot County Emergency Services, along with other supporting agencies, hosted a CPR and AED, or Automatic External Defibrillator, instruction marathon at the Talbot County Community Center, Wednesday, Feb. 27.

Talbot County Emergency Services Captain Wylie Gray, an organizer and volunteer of the event who has been with the organization for 20 years, said the CPR marathon had spanned the past eight years.

“We just wanted to see how many people we could teach CPR in one day,” Gray said.

Gray said with more than 180 AED devices across the county, implemented through a national Public Access Defibrillation program, the need for residents to learn the life-saving skill was greater than ever.

The defibrillator uses electricity to stop an individual’s heart, before a natural pacemaker picks the heartbeat back up.

“Everybody thinks that you shock them to start them, but you actually clear the electrical field,” Gray said.

Gray said the technology can be instrumental to saving lives. He said although there are a lot of the machines, he felt as if adding an additional 60 or 70 AEDs would give the county access to one whenever it was needed.

“To my knowledge, I know of at least five saves, where the person was in cardiac arrest they were actually engaged, defibrillated with the public access defibrillator and they’re alive today,” Gray said.

Gray said emergency organizations in the past had focused on advanced technology, like AEDs, in order to assure the community was well-equipped to handle emergency situations. Now, the focus is more towards teaching individuals CPR as early as possible, he said.

“Every minute CPR is not done, it drops the percentage of survivability 10 percent,” Gray said.

The recognition of cardiac arrest warning signs is another area of focus of the CPR marathon, Gray said. Teaching individuals what to look for when someone starts experiencing cardiac arrest helps them react and respond accordingly, Gray said.

Warning signs include shortness of breath, arm or jaw pain, Gray said. Some of the best things individuals who are aiding emergency responders can do, are to lay an individual completely flat, call 911 immediately and remove barrier clothing between the person’s chest and compressions.

Gray said the goal was to train 400 people Feb. 27, and by 10 a.m., Gray said about 300 people had registered to participate.

“We call it the chain of survival,” Gray said. “This is just one thing you can do to increase that chain. The bigger the chain is, the more access somebody (can have).”

Gray said personally, he had gotten into the field of emergency services to help people. This event is just another way to educate and help people, he said.

“It’s very important, there’s five people that are still alive today because of a process that the public knows,” Gray said.

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