Safety is the top priority not only at home but also at work. Cynthia Wiederstein, Administrative Officer, Construction Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District, knows just how important safety is and advocated for the Construction Support Division within the district to receive life-saving CPR and first-aid training on Dec. 20, 2022, at the district headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri.
The instructors for the CPR and first-aid training class were none other than her daughters-in-law, Deena Kerschner Johnson and Veronica Carrillo Johnson. Deena owns Heart and Soul LLC and has been training others in CPR since June 2021.
Deena’s husband, Ryan, has multiple sclerosis which is a driving factor into why Deena founded Heart and Soul LLC after Ryan’s condition became worse.
“I knew that I would have the flexibility of owning my own business, have it as a side gig, and then my full-time job would be taking care of my husband. I then found out there’s a big need for it and it’s not a side gig whatsoever,” Deena said.
There is a need for CPR training as almost 400,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of a hospital each year. Of those, 88% happen in the home, meaning there is a 4 out of 5 chance knowing CPR can save the life of a loved one. Only 46% of people receive bystander CPR when in cardiac arrest and only 3% of Americans are CPR certified. For every minute CPR is not administered during cardiac arrest, the chance of survival decreases by 10%.
Since starting in June 2021, Deena has trained over a thousand people including USACE employees. It is Deena’s goal to help as many people as she can become CPR certified because it can save lives.
Even when not certified, the Good Samaritan Law protects bystanders from legal liability if CPR is performed. If someone does go into cardiac arrest, a 911 operator will be able to help walk a caller through the steps to perform CPR.
Deena and Veronica’s tips during the class, and for everyone administering CPR, are to have hands center, push hard and push fast. To properly perform CPR, 100-120 compressions per minute are required. The popular song to stay within the compression range is “Staying Alive” but Deena also recommends “Baby Shark.”
Cynthia is proud of her daughters-in-law for creating a personal hands-on training to teach others the life-saving technique of CPR and first aid.
“They aren’t just teaching it; they’re living it and believing in it. Because one person can make a difference,” Cynthia said.