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NEWS Improving and Protecting the Health, Well-Being
and Self-Reliance of All Montanans.

February 12, 2014


Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936
Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391

12,000 Montanans have received Hands Only CPR training

DPHHS, Gallatin Heart Rescue partner to expand training across the state

Thanks to a partnership between the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) and the Gallatin Heart Rescue (GHR), over 12,000 Montanans have been taught to perform the life-saving technique of Hands Only Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. 

Two years ago a local effort began in Gallatin County to help heart attack victims survive while waiting for medical attention. Over the past year, the program has gone statewide through the DPHHS and GHR partnership, said Mike McNamara of the DPHHS Cardiovascular Health Program.

"GHR trained over 5,000 community members in Gallatin County in their first year in operation and with the statewide expansion, they have more than doubled the number of people being exposed to the training," McNamara said. "This has been a great example of how a few very passionate individuals partnering with the DPHHS can really impact a great number of people."  

Partnering with DPHHS has allowed GHR's training curriculum to be expanded to over 21 communities across Montana. The training has also been popular among state employees. "We've offered the training in Helena to state employees, and every time it's been offered, the classes have filled up immediately," McNamara said. 

According to Kevin Lauer, co‚Äźfounder of GHR, "the critical first step to increasing survival is recognizing cardiac arrest and reacting appropriately since a cardiac arrest victim is twice as likely to live when bystanders give CPR."

Hands Only CPR is designed to be a bridge, buying the patient time until advanced care can be given.  Without this bridge, the odds of surviving cardiac arrest are extremely low, McNamara said.

"Hands Only CPR can be taught in as little as 45 minutes," McNamara said. "And, since mouth to mouth is no longer recommended, the hope is that more people will learn this life-saving skill."

GHR is also collaborating with Bozeman Deaconess Hospital, American Medical Response, Absaroka Emergency Physicians and Gallatin Enforcement & Fire Agencies to bring CPR classes to businesses, schools, Boy/Girl Scout troops, state office buildings and hospitals all across Montana.  For more information, please visit www.gallatinheartresque.com.  

NOTE: GHR will celebrate its second anniversary on Friday, February 14 at 10 a.m. in the Bozeman Deaconess Health Services Upper Level Atrium. At the public event, GHR will donate six AEDs (automatic electronic defibrillators) to the Gallatin County Sheriff's and Bozeman and Manhattan Police departments, in its continuing efforts to save the lives of those suffering sudden cardiac arrest.

According to McNamara, the event will honor the unsung and often anonymous heroes who have used the technique to save the lives of strangers.

Page last updated 02/10/2014