The Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps (WVAC) has teamed up with Our Lady of Fatima (OLF) to host a free, hands-only CPR and AED training for kids and teens on Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 6-7:30 p.m. at the OLF Parish Center (229 Danbury Rd.).

Hands-only CPR is CPR 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 (such as at home, at work or in a park).

Most people who experience out-of-hospital-cardiac arrest die because they don’t receive immediate CPR from someone on the scene. As bystanders, children can help change that statistic. As emergency responders say, “The life they save may be our own!”

This class is for children and teens, grades 5-12 or ages 9-17 only. Studies have shown that children as young as 9-years-old can learn and retain CPR skills. The earlier kids get their hands on manikins and practice the basics, the more second nature it will become for them should they ever need to refer to these skills in a real situation. Just teaching a child the mechanics of pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest is better than doing nothing at all.  If they have the ability to listen and follow direction, they are a good candidate for this class.

Registration for this event is required in advance. It is important that each student be given adequate time and instruction with an instructor, so organizers need to know in advance how many participants to expect in order to ensure enough manikins and instructors are on hand. Additionally, OLF has a maximum capacity of 135 occupants, including OLF and WVAC staff and volunteers. Participants need to register online before the event.

There are no certifications given for Hands Only CPR and this class is being offered entirely free. However, Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps, as the name suggests is a volunteer organization, and not a department within the scope of the Town of Wilton, and therefore relies heavily on donations from the community. The volunteer EMTs donate their time, not only for shifts that ensure that Wilton residents stay safe, but for community service events like this one. WVAC is a 501(c)3 organization and organizers say, “Donations are always appreciated but certainly not required as a prerequisite for this class. When you register, you will have the opportunity to make a donation to the Corps.”

For more information, contact Brian McDermott, WVAC community relations and special events coordinator by email or by calling 203.517.7247; or Mara Fleming, coordinator of youth ministry at OLF by email.