‘I have seen the benefit:’ preparing for emergencies with Marion CPR class

Dozens of people in eastern Iowa are now armed with life-saving skills thanks to an annual CPR class.
Published: Feb. 18, 2023 at 9:13 PM CST
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MARION, Iowa (KCRG) - Dozens more people in eastern Iowa are now armed with life-saving skills thanks to an annual CPR class.

Around 40 people spent Saturday morning learning techniques to use in emergencies. Gina Kaufman was one of them, attending the class to re-up her certification.

“I have seen the benefit of being certified in CPR, having witnessed an incident where CPR was used,” Kaufman said. She said the incident happened last summer at the Marion YMCA where she is an aquatics instructor.

“I was teaching a very large class. I teach on the deck, and one of our participants, I noticed, had leaned to the side, was listing in the water. Unbeknownst to me—had suffered cardiac arrest,” Kaufman said.

Kaufman summoned lifeguards, who administered CPR.

“As she was exiting on with the ambulance, she was combative, which was a good sign,” Kaufman said.

The incident as a whole rattled Kaufman, and it’s had a lingering impact.

“I was the manager of the scene, as my counselor—we’ve had trauma counseling since then,” Kaufman added.

However, the positive outcome was a memorable lesson in the importance of learning CPR.

“We know that if bystander-CPR is started on somebody before the paramedics arrive, that triples the chance of a positive outcome,” Gene Johnston, with the Rotary Club of Linn County, said. That organization partnered with the Marion Fire Department to put on the event.

Johnston said that he’s worried that training for this life-saving technique could be needing more widespread adoption.

“I’ve had people today tell me, they’ve tried to get CPR, they’ve called the hospitals, they’ve called some other places. And they’ve all said, ‘No, we don’t really do that.’ So, I’m thinking maybe it’s not as accessible as it should be.”

Johnston said, in the years since the Rotary Club has been organizing the class, they’ve trained about 250 people in the area.