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New coalition underway in Baton Rouge to promote CPR and AED awareness

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BATON ROUGE - There's a new push to give people the life-saving skills and tools they need, especially in the wake of serious injuries like Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin's collapse during a Sunday night football against the Cincinnati Bengals.

East Baton Rouge EMS is working on a new coalition to help with CPR training and installing AEDs citywide. The project is still in its early phases, but they'll partner with local private companies to increase community awareness of CPR and raise funds to place AEDs throughout Baton Rouge.

When someone suffers cardiac arrest, time is crucial; it's important to know the proper technique of administering CPR and knowing how to use an AED.

"Always remember, any CPR is better than no CPR," said Amy Fuentes, a certified CPR instructor with Southern Training Solutions. "Jump on that chest, give compressions, two inches, 100-120 a minute and make sure your body position is correct and always call 911."

"We want to get the AED to the patient in three minutes, what we call a three-minute 'drop to shock,'" said Roger Mattei with ZOLL Medical. "Turn the AED on. It gives audible and visual prompts and walks you through every step to resuscitate our patient."

Gray's Army Foundation is also getting involved. Dale and Michelle Temple lost their son Grayson to sudden cardiac arrest over a year ago, and they're helping raise awareness and teach students CPR all over the state.

"We help provide AEDs at a reduced rate for those who need one," said Michelle. "We're hoping this year to attract enough donors and sponsorships to truly donate the unit. We know every second counts. Having these AEDs available within three minutes certainly increases the chance of survival up to 70%."

East Baton Rouge Parish EMS is partnering with Our Lady of the Lake and several other organizations to kick off the Heart Safe Community Coalition.

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