Sabrina Tamez, packaging operations senior team leader for The Times Media Co., is trained in Hands-Only CPR by American Heart Association volunteer Debbie Mengel.

Eloise Marie Valadez, The Times

I applaud The Times on its collaboration with the American Heart Association to provide Northwest Indiana residents cardio pulmonary resuscitation training. CPR is a life-saving skill.

Lake County government has provided American Heart Association Heartsaver CPR/AED classes for several years to our employees on a volunteer basis. Classes include CPR/AED (automatic external defibrillator) instructions for adults, children and infants.

It is only in the past year, since the commissioners contracted with CardioTech LLC, a local business, that the demand has been overwhelming. I attribute this to the extensive, relaxed and engaging instruction provided by Herbie Cruz, instructor and president of CardioTech LLC.

After three hours of instruction, employees receive their certification. The county has had other classes in the past, but participation has never been so great.

In fact, class registration fills up the same day or within a few days that employees are given notice of a scheduled class.

More than 200 employees working in various county offices have received their certification — all prepared to respond when needed.

In fact, a few months ago county employees, bailiff Charles Hedinger, security officer Theodore Serrano Jr., Jeanine Szany, Willie Denis and Amy Schilling came to the aid of a court visitor in distress who lost consciousness.

They performed chest compression and used the AED until Crown Point Fire Department EMTs arrived. In my opinion, they saved his life. I commend their act of courage.

I encourage every employer to consider offering CPR and AED training to their employees. It could be your life or a loved one’s life that is saved. I, too, am certified and feel empowered and confident that I will be able to assist someone in need of CPR.

Are you prepared to assist a co-worker, friend or loved one who may be in cardiac arrest? Do you know how to use an automated external defibrillator?

Don’t wait. Learn today.

You could make a difference of life or death. Again, I appreciate the effort of The Times to train 5,000 residents this life-saving skill.

Christine Cid is a Lake County councilwoman representing the 5th District. The opinions are the writer's.