The last time Mesa resident Tracy Zahn performed CPR, he was a 15-yearold lifeguard in Missouri trying to save a drowning victim. So he was surprised when, nearly 25 years later, he was thrust into the role of hero again.
Zahn and fellow Boeing co-worker Stephen Straub were conducting a United Way presentation at a Mesa child crisis center in August when Straub’s heart stopped beating during a seizure.
As nearly everyone around them panicked, Zahn, 39, administered a couple of chest compressions before Straub’s heart and lungs kicked into action again.
Straub is now trying to get everyone he knows to sign up for cardiopulmonary resuscitation classes.
"It’s good for everyone to be trained in CPR because you just never know" when you’ll be called upon to use it, Zahn said.
For his efforts, Zahn was recently named the adult hero of the year by the Grand Canyon chapter of the American Red Cross.
Harry Coyle, director of education and training for the chapter, said CPR training is critical.
"We would love to see at least one person in every family certified in CPR and first aid," Coyle said. "Hopefully no one will ever have to use it, but when you do have the training you can save a life."
The cost of a CPR and first-aid class — about $40 to $45 — is miniscule when one considers the value of a human life, he said.
"It’s not so difficult that people can’t learn to do it, but you need training to learn it appropriately and effectively," Coyle said.
Every year the American Red Cross trains between 9,000 and 10,000 Valley residents in adult CPR, child CPR and first aid, Coyle said. Volunteers train individuals, employees whose jobs require CPR training, and whole companies that want their employees to have the knowledge.
"We can usually find a class that fits anyone’s schedule," Coyle said.
Valleywide: American Red Cross, (602) 336-6490
Local contacts: Call the American Heart Association for training in Apache Junction, (480) 982-4456; Chandler, (480) 649-2851; Mesa and Gilbert, (480) 827-2277 or (480) 998-5193; and Tempe, (480) 350-5201.