BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — After what happened to NFL player Damar Hamlin Monday night the Bloomington Fire Department wants everyone to be prepared in the event of cardiac arrest. They offer CPR, AED and First Aid classes for nonprofits and small civic organizations. But you don’t have to be a part of a group in order to save a life.

“People aren’t ready for it. They don’t expect what they’re seeing and they’re taken off guard. It’s something quite surprising and overwhelming,” said Public Information Officer Frank Friend.

Witnessing a cardiac arrest can be alarming but every second counts in saving someone’s life. In a Facebook post, the fire department said that what happened to Hamlin was tragic and tell people to learn CPR and have a plan just in case.

“The first thing we want you to do is have somebody call 9-1-1. The second thing we want you to do is start compressions. And we want those compressions to be hard and fast. We’re looking for about 100 to 120 a minute. We don’t want you to stop and we want those to be about two inches in depth,” said Friend.

One helpful way to remember the pace of chest compressions is to sing “Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees. If you hear a cracking sound don’t panic.

“It’s the cartilage between the sternum and the ribs. That’s the cracking sound that you hear. That’s normal and that’s good. That’s what you’re looking for,” Friend said.

If an Automated External Defibrillator or AED is available then use it. Friend said they are found in most public buildings and are safe for anybody to use. He said the device will walk you through the steps on how to use it.

“An AED provides for an electrical shock. And what it does is reset the electrical system of the heart. Basically it’s like the control, alt, delete of your computer,” he added.

The most important point is to have a plan.

“We want you to go to a CPR Class. We want you to know where your AEDs are. If you have a business or school, some kind of large community area where you do have an AED have folks that are certified in CPR and know where that AED is. And then plan those things and then practice,” said Friend.

The fire department responded to 166 cardiac arrest calls last year and 154 in 2021. To sign-up for a class, email piofire@cityblm.org.