Local emergency medical technician Michael Mutoza leads a compression CPR training session at Orestimba High School.

NEWMAN - A local emergency medical technician is at the forefront of a countywide initiative to teach basic CPR to as many people as possible.

Michael Mutoza, who works for American Medical Response (AMR), said he will be visiting schools and attending community events to teach compression-only CPR as part of a multi-agency initiative known as the Stanislaus Heart Rescue Project.

“Our goal is to teach compression-only CPR to as many people as we can throughout the community,” Mutoza explained. “I was given the task this year to accomplish as much as I can.”

Middle school eighth-graders and high school seniors are among his target groups.

“We figured we would hit eighth-graders, and then again their senior year. We have had a really good reception to that,” Mutzoa said.

California, he told Mattos Newspapers, is one of about a dozen states which do not require CPR instruction prior to high school graduation.

Mutoza recently provided compression-only CPR instruction to  his targeted grade levels at Orestimba and Yolo.

“We’re teaching them a good life skill,” Mutoza said. “This may very well help somebody else. This is something that they should learn, and it doesn’t take long.

He plans to visit other schools this year, and expand the program next year.

Mutoza said he will also have a booth at the Newman Together event planned for late April, and will be in attendance at an upcoming Portuguese celebration at the county fairgrounds.

“I am hoping that I will get some interest from other groups in the community as well,” he said. “I’m trying to teach CPR to as many people as I can.”

Mutoza said he is offering very basic instruction rather than a certification course.

But knowing even the basics instilled in 10 minutes of instruction, he emphasized, can save a life.

When an individual is in cardiac arrest, he said, time is of the essence.

“The big thing is to get people to notice right away and to start compression right away,” Mutoza said. “The goal is to begin chest compressions within four to six minutes. After that, the lack of oxygen starts brain death.”

Groups interested in scheduling a CPR instruction session may contact Mutoza at  968-7964.