This Saturday, the Knoxville Area Chapter of the American Red Cross, along with WBIR-TV and Star 102.1 radio station, will be holding its annual, free CPR training at 10 different locations throughout East Tennessee.
According to the American Heart Association, nearly 80 million people living in America suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease. Each year, 325,000 people die from cardiac arrest, which accounts for three-fourths of all deaths from coronary heart disease.
Many of these deaths occur before the victim is able to receive proper treatment, such as CPR. A trained, first-aid provider can keep the blood and oxygen circulating in the body long enough to possibly save a life. Quick response becomes an even greater factor when you consider that brain damage begins after four to six minutes without oxygen, according to the American Heart Association.
“CPR is one of those skills that you never know when you may need it, but when you need it, you know it’s a life-and-death situation,” said UT freshman and previous Red Cross trainee Patrick Gipson. “I know I’ll be thankful I took the time to learn (CPR) if I ever have to save a friend.”
For the past 12 years, the Knoxville Area Chapter of the American Red Cross has held free, one-day CPR training classes. The Knoxville Area Chapter hopes to provide training for more than 800 individuals during the one-day event.
According to its Web site, the chapter trained more than 22,000 people in one or more life-saving safety courses last year alone.
“This free training is a gift we offer the community because we know that having at least one person in every household who knows CPR makes our community safer,” said Red Cross Health and Safety Director Peggi Stahr.
Normally, Red Cross training sessions are not free, and the one-day event hopes to target those who may not have the resources to attend a fee-based class, including low-income families, college students and seniors, although registration is open to everyone.
“It’s cool you can get quality training from the Red Cross for free. You know you’re being taught well. Plus you can’t beat free,” Gipson said.
The courses will be held at 10 different locations in Knox, Union, Roane, Loudon, Sevier, Morgan, Jefferson, Campbell, Grainger and Scott Counties.
The Knox County location will be Cokesbury Center, 9915 Kingston Pike in Knoxville. The classes will begin at 9 a.m. and last until 1 p.m. at all locations.
CPR and first aid training are offered by the American Red Cross in Knoxville year-round in day, evening and weekend sessions. To pre-register for a class in advance, or for a list of all 10 locations throughout the area, visit the Web site, or call (865) 584-2999.

Michael Tabler
Staff Writer