Carol Orta, a longtime Los Altos resident, was one of 299 area folks who participated in the recent "CPR Saturday" training fair at Foothill College.
"I think it's a good idea to know what to do in an emergency so you won't get flustered," Orta said. "Everyone should know how to do this."
Orta, along with 8,000 other Californians, learned CPR during the one day, PG&E-sponsored, statewide event run by the American Red Cross, titled "Prepare, It's Energy Well Spent."
Participants filled the Foothill College cafeteria in Los Altos Hills, one of the 40 sites around California that hosted the two four-hour sessions. In addition to Orta, 26 of the 299 participants came from Los Altos and 50 from Mountain View. The annual CPR training fair is funded by PG&E. They print a notice of the workshop on the envelope of the PG&E bill.
A heart attack victim's chances of survival are three and a half times greater with CPR, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, according to a Red Cross spokesman.
As there were approximately 1.5 million cardiac arrests and heart attacks in 1994, and 75 percent of these emergencies occurred in the home with bystanders unable to administer these life saving skills, CPR has had growing importance. Teaching in both English and Spanish, instructors showed students how to care for cardiac emergencies in adults. The students practiced on manikins, watched videos, and learned from the Red Cross instructors.
Orta called the teaching style "very hands on" and said that the workshop was "extremely useful."
To obtain an adult CPR card, students had to pass a written test and demonstrate their ability to perform CPR. At the end of the day, 288 people received the certification, which is valid for one year.
One child scored higher than her mother, said Ricky Silva, a spokesman with the American Red Cross, Palo Alto Chapter. A third of the participants had never taken a CPR class before.