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Volunteer Trainers Teach CPR To 2,000 In San Diego

— Firefighters and healthcare workers were on San Diego sidewalks today to teach people how to perform CPR. The goal was to teach the lifesaving skill to more than 2,000 people.

Scripps professional development specialist Abigail Alexander and nurse Joanne Benintende give local resident Fred Di Carlo a quick lesson in how to perform CPR outside Scripps Clinic in Rancho Bernardo.
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Above: Scripps professional development specialist Abigail Alexander and nurse Joanne Benintende give local resident Fred Di Carlo a quick lesson in how to perform CPR outside Scripps Clinic in Rancho Bernardo.

Outside Scripps Clinic in Rancho Bernardo, development specialist Abigail Alexander showed a man how to perform CPR on a mannequin.

"And you can just put your hands in the center of the chest, okay, and then you want to press at least two inches," Alexander explained.

This was one of 48 sites in the county where trainers offered to teach anyone who was interested. Alexander said 20 people had stepped forward for CPR training in the first couple of hours.

Alexander said it's easy to learn.

"To do just the hand-only method, which is for adult victims, to teach them, it takes about 30 seconds, 45 seconds, and you can learn how to save a life," she said.

Doctors say without CPR, the survival rate of a person who's suffered a heart attack in the field is almost zero. That's because the average ambulance response time in San Diego is just under eight minutes.

According to local health officials, more than 1,400 people suffered a cardiac arrest in San Diego between July 2009 and December 2011. Only 25 percent were still alive upon arrival at a hospital. Only 8 percent were eventually discharged.

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