By Heather Wilkins

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue (HCFR), in conjunction with Brandon Regional Hospital (BRH), recently had the opportunity to train Silver Sneaker members from the Campo YMCA about hands-on CPR.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or heart and lung resuscitation (CPR) is a vital component in helping to aid a heart attack victim prior to help arriving.

Jessica Coy, Public Relations Officer at HCFR for eight years, said, “No one wants to breathe into a stranger’s mouth because no one knows where their mouths have been.”

This is one reason that the American Heart Association now encourages Hands-Only CPR, which is without mouth-to-mouth breaths. It is recommended for use by people who see a teen or adult suddenly collapse in an “out-of-hospital” setting.

 “That’s why everyone will participate more in a hands-on experience because you don’t have to breathe into the person’s mouth,” Coy said. She and partner Nicole Rivette, also from HCFR, walked around the classroom helping the Silver Sneaker members learn how to place their hands over the chest of their CPR dummies.

Dr. Jennifer Waxler, Director of Emergency Medicine at BRH, has worked with the fire department on this program for three months. Many fire rescue and medical professionals like Coy, Rivette and Dr. Waxler recommend asking the person first if they are okay, and if they don’t respond, too immediately call 911 first and then perform CPR.

 “We do CPR for five to six minutes when we arrive on scene, but one round of CPR (30 compressions) is approximately two minutes,” Coy said.

Silver Sneaker members were enthusiastic students. Member Laurie Abbett said, “I was excited to do a CPR program.”

The 30 Silver Sneaker members who attended the program will be certified in two weeks when they return the final papers for their certificates.

Brandon Regional Hospital is located at 119 Oakfield Dr. in Brandon. For more information on this event, visit and go to the classes and events calendar or call BRH at 681-5551.

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