Elks class draws more than 60 students of all ages

Warren Meyer was shaking grass clippings from the lawnmower basket in his Cornelius yard when he dropped to the ground.

“They thought I was playing with my granddaughter,” Meyer said of his wife and grown daughter, who were minutes away from leaving the home.

When he didn’t get up, they knew he’d had a heart attack.

“It was quite frightening,” said Barbara Meyer, who had stepped outside to tell her husband she was going out for groceries.

After calling 911, “I started beating on him,” said Barbara, who’d taken a CPR class seven years earlier but couldn’t remember any of the details.

Their daughter joined her and began doing chest compressions and rescue breaths until the Cornelius Fire Department showed up with a defibrillator and took over.

Seventeen years later, Warren Meyer was among 64 people of all ages who attended a free CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) class at the Forest Grove Elks Lodge last week.

Having survived his heart attack, the lodge member decided it was finally time to learn the technique that saved his life.

“It was well worth the time involved and very informative,” Meyer said of the training.

Seven instructors from the Forest Grove and Cornelius fire departments spent two hours teaching the most up-to-date CPR techniques.

“It’s much simpler than it used to be,” said Ray Lewis, another lodge member. “There’s no more blowing into the mouth. Just rapid heart thrusts into the sternum.”

While the average age of students was in the 50s, Lewis said, the class included a high-schooler and even an eighth-grader. Only a third were lodge members.

“It’s part of our mission to provide more services,” said Lewis, who expects the Elks to host another CPR class early in 2013 — this time offering the certificate required by certain employers.

Lodge leaders are also considering how to get their own defibrillator, said Meyer, who thinks it would be a good idea to have that kind of equipment immediately available.

Barbara Meyer estimates it was only five minutes between when she started beating on her husband’s chest and the paramedics arrived. But “it seemed like forever.”

Contract Publishing

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