With a destruction derby, rodeo and thrill rides, it might not seem like the Stanislaus County Fair is the place to come to learn to save a life, but it is.
Thanks to Emanuel Medical Center, the Stanislaus Heart Rescue Project and American Medical Response, fair visitors can learn compression-only cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, a skill that may someday save someone's life.
"With compression-only CPR, you only perform chest compressions and don't breathe into the person's lungs," explained Michael Corbin, the clinical education manager at American Medical Response. "For someone who has had sudden cardiac arrest, it's all you need to do, and we can teach compression-only CPR in 10 minutes."
Every year, more than 400,000 Americans experience sudden cardiac arrest, and more than 90 percent of them die. The goal of the Heart Rescue Project is to cut the death rate by half, and the project taught 154 people compression-only CPR during the fair last year.
This year, fairgoers can learn the lifesaving skill every day the fair runs by coming to the CPR station, inside the former photography building. CPR instructors will be available from noon to 9 p.m. on weekends and 5 to 9 p.m. weekdays, said Pennie Rorex, Emanuel's associate vice president for communications and marketing.
"Visitors can also spin the wheel and in doing so, answer a true or false question about heart health," she said. "Every spinner wins something as well."
Corbin said compression-only CPR, which is also called bystander CPR, is proven to save lives.
"As fair-goers will learn at the Emanuel booth, the keys are to recognize that someone has gone into cardiac arrest, call 911 immediately, then perform compression-only CPR," he said. "If there is an automated external defibrillator available, use that next, or just keep performing compressions until help arrives."
The Stanislaus County Fair runs July 11-20 and is open from 5 p.m. to midnight Monday through Friday, and noon to midnight on the weekends. Regular admission is $12 for adults, $5 for seniors, $5 for kids ages 7 to 12, with anyone six and under getting in free.