Coon Rapids Heart Safe program produces training video

The Heart Safe Coon Rapids organization is taking another step to get it message out – a training video to show how the use of cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) can save lives in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest.

Actor Chars Bonin played sudden cardiac arrest victim Tim Hoffman in the video, which was shot at McCarthy’s Auto World, where Hoffman suffered his heart attack in early October and was revived by a combination of CPR performed by fellow employee Josh Gagner and the use of an AED by Coon Rapids Police officers Bob Trusler and Bryan Platz.

Actor Chars Bonin played sudden cardiac arrest victim Tim Hoffman in the video, which was shot at McCarthy’s Auto World, where Hoffman suffered his heart attack in early October and was revived by a combination of CPR performed by fellow employee Josh Gagner and the use of an AED by Coon Rapids Police officers Bob Trusler and Bryan Platz.

The city of Coon Rapids was designated a Heart Safe community Oct. 3, the first in Anoka County. There are two main goals.

• Ensure that AEDs are easily accessible in the community with placement in public buildings and businesses.

• Make sure the public is educated and trained to not only recognize the signs of sudden cardiac arrest, but also in the use of hands-on CPR and AEDs because effective bystander CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or even triple a victim’s chance of survival.

That’s the purpose of the CPR and AED training video, which reconstructs a real life incident in Coon Rapids this past fall in which the use of CPR and AED saved a life.

Tim Hoffman went into sudden cardiac arrest Oct. 3 at McCarthy’s Auto World, where he worked, but fellow employee Josh Gagner recognized the life and death situation and started CPR, which he had learned as a Boy Scout, until Coon Rapids Police officers Bob Trusler and Bryan Platz arrived with an AED from a police squad car; all Coon Rapids Police squads are now equipped with an AED.

Within one minute and 52 seconds of the first AED shock, Hoffman’s pulse was restored and by the time he was taken to the hospital, he was awake and alert.

Hoffman has made a full recovery and is now back at work.

He has also become involved in the Coon Rapids Heart Safe project, included the video project and fundraising for it.

It was that incident that has been recreated by the video which was shot Dec. 11 and 14 at McCarthy Auto World, according to Platz, who has spearheaded the Coon Rapids Heart Safe Community effort along with Coon Rapids Fire Inspector Nick House and paramedic and Coon Rapids resident Paul Mendoza..

Now being edited, the video is scheduled for release in February, Platz said.

Much of the video was shot from a first-person perspective, rather than a third-person viewpoint, he said.

“This way the viewer has the sense they are actually the person doing the CPR and operating the AED,” Platz said.

“If they are ever confronted with a sudden cardiac arrest, hopefully they will have the feeling they have done this before, and feel confident to take action.”

According to Platz, the training/documentary video is an effort to “compel people to take action in the event of sudden cardiac arrest.”

The video will not only be made available locally, but also nationally, and there are also plans to have it translated into Spanish, Platz said.

It will be seven minutes long – the amount of time Hoffman’s heart was not beating – and is designed to be a quick and entertaining way to train the lay rescuer, he said.

The video is being produced by Bill Carson.TV, a Foureyes Creative LLC, headquartered in Coon Rapids.

“Bill is a Coon Rapids resident who has been inspired by the Coon Rapids Heart Safe program,” Platz said.

“Bill was so inspired by this project, he is offering his services for free. The project was originally bid to be produced for $24,000 and was basically dead in the water. Bill stepped in with his company and we were able to get the cost of the production down to $6,900.”

The video was directed by award-winning director Kelly Youland, while actor, director and producer Chars Bonin, an Andover resident, played the role of Hoffman, according to Platz.

Former Minnesota North Star and Vice President of the Minnesota NHL Alumni Association Sean Toomey also lent a hand by playing a bystander in the video, Platz said.

“Much of the cast was made up of my family members, including my aunt Mary who’s husband Todd (my uncle) died last March from complications of sudden cardiac arrest,” he said.

“Todd was my inspiration to start Heart Safe Coon Rapids and I wanted my aunt to see something positive could come from something so tragic. I wanted her to see that Todd was still very much alive in my heart, and continuing to make the world a better place.”

To date, Coon Rapids Heart Safe has raised more than $5,100 to pay for the video.

A spaghetti dinner and silent auction at the Coon Rapids American Legion Dec. 9 brought in over $2,800 with between 150 and 160 people in attendance.

Mayor Tim Howe and many of the Coon Rapids firefighters showed up, so did Santa Claus, while professional boxer Caleb Truax signed autographs and had photos taken with him, according to Hoffman.

The event also featured an introduction to CPR and AED use by trained personnel.

“We did great,” Hoffman said.

Donations are still being sought to pay for the video. Platz has set up an account at any Wells Fargo bank under the name of Heart Safe Coon Rapids.

For more information about the Heart Safe project, email heartsafe@coonrapidsmn.gov or go online at www.coonrapidsmn.gov.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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