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Wilson County EMS is on a mission to teach local residents how to do compression-only CPR.

The initiative is called 1 Million Compressions, and it involves EMS giving free CPR clinics at area businesses, churches or wherever two or more are gathered.

Dave Cuddeback, assistant director of Wilson County EMS, said its the people in the community who can make a big difference during an emergency. Survival often depends on what happens in the minutes before an ambulance arrives.

“It’s the people in the community who are the first responders,” he said.

Cuddeback said the goal is to teach community members how to do chest compressions for 10 minutes or until emergency personnel arrive. The goal is to train 1,000 people to do 100 compressions per minute for 10 minutes.

Every time people are trained, he said he knows a few things will happen: lives will be saved and citizens will be come part of making the community safer.

Since 1 Million Compressions started almost a year ago, around 300 people have been trained. In an upcoming June clinic, 600 employees of a local company will be trained, he said.

The training is for compression-only CPR and does not include mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

The classes also touch on how to use an automatic external defibrillator.

New Hope Missionary Baptist Church had purchased automatic external defibrillators several years ago and trained congregation members on how to use the device should someone need it.

Church member Robert Vick said only one of the AEDs was working on the Sunday morning in February that his brother, Dennis, had a heart attack and his heart stopped beating. Luckily, the working device is the one that was delivered to emergency workers who helped revive Dennis.

Since that incident, the church has purchased a brand new AED. Another one has been updated and given new batteries and both have been placed in a prominent location so anyone can locate them if needed. People in the Vick family have been told a number of area churches have purchased AEDs since the incident with Dennis Vick.

If you’d like to schedule a free CPR clinic, call Dave Cuddeback at 252-265-5557 or email dcuddeback@wilson-co.com.