To celebrate National EMS week, which begins May 19, Tiffin Fire and Rescue and Mercy Tiffin Hospital are to kick off the "Seneca County Hands over Hearts" CPR challenge.
The goal of the challenge is to get 10 percent of Seneca County residents, about 5,000 people, trained in basic knowledge of CPR within the next five years.
"I thought it was unique and a great idea," said Mike Homan, a Tiffin firefighter and paramedic who has led EMS week festivities for the past couple of years. "It's going to take a lot of cooperation from a lot of different groups of people, but I think it can be done."
Homan said almost anyone can learn CPR in a matter of minutes.
"We're willing to teach anyone who will take five minutes to learn it," he said.
To kick off the challenge, a health fair hosted by Tiffin Fire and Rescue and Mercy Tiffin Hospital is scheduled for 1-5 p.m. May 19 at the Tiffin Community YMCA.
Laura Gaietto, emergency care center and intensive care unit manager at Mercy Tiffin Hospital, said the hospital has partnered with Tiffin Fire and Rescue many other times, and the CPR challenge is another important partnership.
"We see it first-hand, CPR saves lives," Gaietto said.
"It's a proven fact that when you can start early CPR before the arrival of an ambulance, it gives the patient a better chance of surviving," said Tiffin Fire Chief William Ennis.
Ennis said the fire department regularly offers full CPR classes, but the challenge is an opportunity to stress the importance and ease of learning CPR.
Other events scheduled for May 19 at the YMCA include free blood pressure and glucose checks, activities for kids and adults and information from Mercy Tiffin Hospital about its services, including its recent cardiac accreditation. Kids also are to have the chance to learn or practice using 911 with simulated scenarios. Fire apparatus and medic units also are to be present at the fair. With weather permitting, Mercy St. Vincent's Life Flight will be landing to view around 3 p.m.
Anyone interested in donating to the campaign efforts or in volunteering can contact Homan at (419) 448-5445 or email email@example.com