Alarmed at last summer’s record number of drowning deaths across Orange County, the city’s newly organized Rotary Club swung into action.
Club members in September organized an all-day, free training session in cardiopulmonary resuscitation for residents. It was so successful that the club is providing a second CPR training session in February.
“Our club has found such strong response from the community that we’ll definitely sponsor this training on an annual basis and maybe even semiannually,” said Barry Denes, president-elect of the Rotary Club and a Villa Park City Council member.
Jay Lieberman, a past president of the club, said, “Villa Park has a tremendous number of swimming pools. It’s extremely important that something like this be provided to the community.”
The CPR instruction is provided free by the Emergency Medical Services division of the Orange County Fire Authority. Mark Kramer, battalion chief, said the Rotarians are providing a valuable service by sponsoring and advertising the sessions.
“Whenever anyone is able to provide CPR, it enhances the chances of having a successful outcome,” Kramer said.
Denes said the club’s sponsorship of CPR training has drawn wide interest from Rotary Clubs in other cities. Those clubs may also soon be sponsoring sessions, he said.
The Villa Park Rotary has been chartered only since March. Since then, the 38 club members have tackled several other humanitarian projects.
“Being a new club, we don’t know what we can’t do yet,” Denes said.
But as the club adds humanitarian projects, CPR training will remain a focal point. “We’re telling people in the community that the life they save may be one of their own,” Denes said.