Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone in Acadiana were prepared to save a life? You can learn how on May 4, 2013, at the 13th annual 'Be a Heart Starter!' training day at the Cajundome. Since training began here in 2000, the survival rate from sudden cardiac arrest in Acadiana has increased from one percent to over 30 percent.

During the last 12 years, nearly 15,000 Acadiana residents have been trained in bystander CPR at this nationally recognized event. Last year saw the second largest turnout when 1,538 people were trained.

Being prepared at home, or having employees trained at a business, combined with the rapid response of first responders, makes Acadiana a safer place to live. Seventy-five percent of all sudden cardiac arrests happen at home and many times no one knows how to administer CPR. If no bystander CPR is provided, chances of survival are reduced seven to 10 percent with each minute of delay.

“This event is possible due to the sponsorship and volunteer support of the Acadiana medical community and other community-minded companies and organizations that believe in making Acadiana a safer place to live,” says Dr. Charles Wyatt, event founder and medical director. “We encourage everyone to register for this year’s event, even if you have taken the course before. You never know when CPR training can save a friend or family member.”

This free event is open to anyone middle school-age or older who wants to learn how to 'Be A Heart Starter!' Two two-hour sessions will be held at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. In addition to CPR training there will be demonstrations on administering CPR to an infant and child along with how an automatic external defibrillator (AED) works in saving a victim’s life. There will be special training table areas for participants who are not able to kneel comfortably during training. Also, a segment of the course will focus on stroke recognition.

Although there is no cost, advanced registration is requested by calling toll-free 877-242-4277 or online at www.heartstarter.org. Each participant will receive a 'Be A Heart Starter!' T-shirt, a training course participation certificate and more.