Wouldn’t it be great if everyone in Cenla were prepared to save a life? On April 2, Cenla residents can get the training they need to do just that with Start a Heart Cenla.

Start a Heart Cenla is a free bystander CPR training class. Participants learn how to perform Hands Only CPR for adults, child and infant CPR, how to relieve choking in adults, children and infants, how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), and how to recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke.

The event takes place at the Alexandria Riverfront Center in downtown Alexandria. Two training sessions will be offered during the event. The first session takes place from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. A second session takes place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants must be middle-school age or older and will receive a certificate of completion, T-shirt, and most important, the skills to save a life.

More than 326,000 people experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital each year and about 90 percent of them die, often because bystanders don’t know how to start CPR or are afraid they’ll do something wrong. However, effective bystander CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can triple a victim’s chance of survival.

Free childcare will be available from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for children ages 4-10 whose parents are registered and attending Start a Heart Cenla. This “Pump It Up!” event for kids is provided by the YWCA, the T.R.E.E. House, the Gem and Little Caesar’s Pizza.  At Pump It Up!, kids will learn about the heart, what it does and how to keep it healthy with interactive activities.  Pre-registration is required. Lunch is provided.

Previous Start a Heart participants are encouraged to attend the April 2 event for a skills refresher – or as a volunteer!

Lunch will also be provided for Start a Heart Cenla participants immediately following the second training session. Participants, volunteers and coaches can register by calling 877-477-7637 or by visiting startaheartcenla.org. For more information on Pump It Up!, please contact the YWCA at 442-3397 or the T.R.E.E. House at 619-9394.)