Attendees of a recent CPR training class learned the hit Bee Gees' song "Staying' Alive' is good for more than encouraging people to break out their best disco moves.

"The rhythm and the cadence of 'Stayin' Alive' is the perfect rhythm to perform Hands-Only CPR," explained Diane Kemp, executive director of The American Heart Association of Northern Indiana.

Kemp and association volunteer Debbie Mengel lead a CPR class Wednesday at The Times' Munster office. Seventeen employees of the newspaper participated in the 22-minute course, which taught the basics of cardiopulmonary resuscitation. CPR is an important lifesaving technique to help resuscitate someone whose heartbeat or breathing has stopped.

"We want to increase bystander awareness," Kemp said about the community classes.

The American Heart Association and The Times have collaborated on a challenge to train 5,000 Northwest Indiana residents in CPR. Kemp said the challenge began in January and runs through the end of the year. More than 4,000 individuals have been trained so far.

Lisa Vosburg, human resources generalist for The Times Media Co., said she worked with Times Editor Bob Heisse to host the training class at the newspaper's office.

"He had the great idea to bring the CPR training to our employees," Vosburg said. "We're going to continue to have training in October and November."

The Heart Association's Kemp told class participants that through a mere 22 minutes of training they would come away from the course "empowered."

"You're going to know how to perform CPR when you leave."

Kemp said research about CPR and its training techniques have shown that "if you can remove the component of fear" for the person who's called to administer the lifesaving technique, there's a greater chance they will confidently perform it on an individual and have success.

"We're going to be able to save more lives," she said about being trained.

Kemp said the underlying mission of CPR is to help a person live. She outlined the two important steps of Hands-Only CPR.

"Remember to call 911. And you need to push hard and fast," she explained. Kemp said a person should respond immediately after someone has a life-threatening situation and is unconscious. She explained a person can't go without oxygen for very long.

Kemp added some individuals may be afraid of hurting someone or being sued because they did something wrong in trying to save a person.

"There's a good Samaritan law that prevents that," she said.

The training course taught by Kemp during the recent class is essentially called the CPR Anytime training system.

In written material presented by The American Heart Association, the CPR Anytime training system has been "specifically designed to overcome several of the known barriers to learning CPR and performing CPR in a real emergency, especially panic and fear of not correctly performing CPR."

CPR Anytime is the only program in which the basic skills of bystander CPR are taught in 22 minutes, the association states.

"Hands-Only CPR has been shown to be as effective as conventional CPR and it is only recommended to be used when a teen or adult goes into sudden cardiac arrest. It can double or even triple a victim's chance of survival," according to The American Heart Association.

Kemp explained the course Times' employees took was "a lifesaving course and not a certification" class. For more information on both CPR Anytime or Certification training, visit heart.org/handsonlycpr or heart.org.

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Eloise writes about food and entertainment for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight children in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.