Last November, 29 Rawdon area residents, most of them volunteers in their community, participated in the Hero in Thirty training offered by the Heart and Stroke Foundation. This new, simplified CPR course is a result of a collaboration between the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Ministère de la santé et des services sociaux and Urgences-Santé. The techniques are simple to learn and allow a large number of people to receive this life-saving basic training course in a short time.

The Hero in Thirty training was delivered within the framework of the Wellness Centre activities offered by the English Community Organization of Lanaudière (ECOL) in Rawdon. The community group Elderhelp (commonly known as Friday Friends) also joined with ECOL in recruiting participants from their pool of volunteers. Both organizations chose to pay half of the cost for their members, most of whom volunteer within their communities. According to Michelle Eaton-Lusignan, Executive Director of ECOL, accessibility was a priority for this activity. “We wanted to train as many people as possible and it was imperative that the conditions were accessible to everyone,” says Eaton-Lusignan. “By subsidizing half of the training for our members and by offering free transportation there and back, there were no real barriers to community participation.”

The trainees varied in age from 13 to 91. For most senior participants, adaptations were made so that they could comfortably take part in the exercises. Elderhelp volunteer Janice Barrie was impressed by the attitude of the instructor, as he was able to accommodate seniors with health issues in the different exercises. “For the seniors with arthritis, they found the hand positioning for CPR that is generally taught to be too difficult for them,” says Barrie. “The instructor was able to show us another way to place our hands that we found much easier.”

The participants were also able to get over their fear of operating a defibrillator, as well as learning that these life-saving devices are already located in many public places. ECOL chairperson and community volunteer Jeannie Neveu participated with her thirteen year-old granddaughter. Neveu says that she was happy her granddaughter could attend the training with her, as she often babysits for others. “Knowing that she knows what to do in the case of an emergency is reassuring for everyone,” she says.

Given the positive feedback received from this activity, ECOL is reflecting on offering the Hero in Thirty training to another group, possibly teenagers. It has also reminded the community of the fact that defibrillators are not very accessible in the community of Rawdon. “We did apply for a donation to purchase a defibrillator to be brought to ECOL’s and Elderhelp’s activities as well as other community events,” says Eaton-Lusignan. “The request was unfortunately refused, but we will look towards other resources. Now that we are trained, we want to be properly equipped. Twenty-five percent of the population in the North of Lanaudière is over sixty-five years of age. We must be mindful of our aging population and its needs.”

Eaton-Lusignan adds: “In any case, twenty-nine more community members now know what to do in the case of a life-threatening situation. They are all heroes to us.

To learn more about the Hero in Thirty or to find an instructor in your area, contact