By Wendy Osher
Members of the Maui Canoe Club collaborated with a nurse at the Maui Memorial Medical Center to develop a CPR method that could be used within the confines of a canoe.
Cardiac Rehabilitation Specialist Kimberly Finney RN, BSN, instructed captains of the canoe club in Hands Only Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation techniques.
The lesson and demonstration focused on CPR response in the case that someone should be stricken while out paddling.
An on-the-ocean training exercise was also performed, to enhance skills and preparedness.
“I commend the Maui Canoe Club for being proactive about the health and safety of its members,” said Finney. “By being prepared if someone should suffer a Sudden Cardiac Arrest while paddling, the victim’s chance of survival is greatly improved,” she said.
The club also recently purchased an Automated External Defibrillator, and was trained in the use of the machine.
According to Finney, Sudden Cardiac Arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for an estimated 325,000 deaths annually.
“We can never be too prepared to respond to someone experiencing it. Time is heart muscle and brain tissue,” she said.
Acknowledging the special challenges of administering CPR in a canoe, Finney said she hopes to eventually reach out to all canoe clubs to offer the technique.
For more information about Hands Only CPR and Automated External Defibrillators contact the American Heart Association, Maui Division at 808-244-7185 or go online at www.heart.org.
On another note, the Maui Canoe Club recently took possession of three canoes that were specifically configured for larger paddlers, and are used in a new canoe program for at risk populations  in boosting physical and emotional well-being.