When someone experiences a heart attack, every second counts.

"The overall success rate for those who go into cardiac arrest is 8 percent without any cognitive problem," said Scott Davis, vice president of operations for AMSOIL.

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When people are trained to American Heart Association (AHA) CPR standards and know how to use Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs), that jumps to 40 percent.

"That’s why we take it seriously at AMSOIL," Davis said.

On April 1, about 22 AMSOIL employees practiced their technique during training provided by the Superior Fire Department.

"We have one person who’s never been trained before, one who was trained in eighth grade," Davis said. "You’ve got the full range of experience in one class here, so we’re able to support each other."

Although the business has provided CPR training for years, this was the first time they turned to the Superior Fire Department for instruction.

"I love it. We have that four to five minute window before they show up," said Barb Carey, quality assurance technician. Because these are the actual firefighters who will respond to an emergency, they offer a unique perspective.

"We’re getting their wisdom of what to do right," Carey said. "They’ve seen it all. They know how they want it to go down and get the patient out the door and to the hospital. So getting their perspective is great."

This is the third year the Superior Fire Department has offered community education classes through its paid for services program. It began with CPR classes at businesses that were already involved in a public-private partnership with the department.

The department now has four instructors and offers classes on everything from CPR to first aid, fire extinguisher training and the anatomy of a 911 call. It’s all available at zero expense to the taxpayer.

"This program doesn’t cost the taxpayers anything," said Battalion Chief Scott Gordon with the Superior Fire Department. "It’s all done with off-duty firefighters and all the equipment was purchased within the program, which is why we have a billing service. When AMSOIL pays for this contract, they’re going to get their AHA cards just like they would at any AHA class, and that’s going to pay for the instructors and it’s going to pay for equipment."

Instructors can provide the training at the fire department headquarters or bring it to the business.

"We can come to them, bring our own equipment, within their eight-hour workday, they don’t have to abandon their facility," Gordon said. "If the class comes to you, it’s so much more inviting.

And, said Davis, it’s cost-effective.

"We’re not paying any more to do this one," he said. Instead of a per-person cost, the fire department charges a flat hourly rate of $100 per hour per instructor as well as a $100 set-up fee.

"There’s no confusion that it’s going to cost more or less," Davis said. "It’s an easy decision."

The program focuses on safety, not dollars.

"Our mission isn’t to make money," Gordon said. "We’re not a business. Our mission is to provide CPR to our community."

It started with partner businesses looking to make their workplaces safer without costing the taxpayers anything extra, the cornerstone of public-private partnerships. In addition to evacuation plans, inspections, facility walk-throughs, extrication practice and tabletop drills, the fire department now offers classes. This is one move that can really make an impact, Gordon said.

"If we can take this and put it in every business in the city, whether it’s Menard’s, Wal-Mart, AMSOIL, mom and pop gas station, everything, we will definitely save lives, and that’s obviously what our goal, our mission is," the battalion chief said.

Whether it’s a church group, civic organization, business or circle of friends, the Superior Fire Department is willing to come teach them CPR. People who are trained will take that knowledge with them wherever they go, whether at the store, at home or on the road.

"Saving lives, that’s what we’re here for," Gordon said. "The taxpayers pay us to come to work and protect the community. And I think by doing this, without burdening the taxpayers, we’re protecting our community better."

One of the department’s instructors has been trained to the level where he can teach CPR instructors. Although the department can, and has, brought classes to other communities in the Twin Ports area, Gordon said he hopes other fire departments will pick up the Superior model.

"In a perfect world everybody in our community would be CPR trained," Gordon said. "And if it’s by us, great, but if it’s not, it would just be nice to have everybody trained."

For more information about the Superior Fire Department’s CPR classes or to receive a brochure, call 715-394-0227 or email Gordon@ci.superior.wi.us.