Organization holds free workshop on First Aid, CPR in wake of Toronto van attack

Click to play video: 'Free workshop on First Aid, CPR meant to equip bystanders following Toronto Van attack' Free workshop on First Aid, CPR meant to equip bystanders following Toronto Van attack
WATCH ABOVE: Nearly one month after a deadly van attack in Toronto killed 10 and injured 16 others, two Toronto men have put on a first aid training workshop meant to help people feel confident in emergency situations. Erica Vella reports – May 19, 2018

Watching news of the deadly van attack in Toronto that killed 10 people and left 16 others injured devastated Aryan Sekhavati and Ashkon Pourheidary, founders of Coast2Coast First Aid and Aquatics.

“You don’t think of these things happening to you, so close to where you live,” Pourheidary told Global News on Saturday.

Just before 1:30 p.m. on April 23, emergency crews were called to Yonge Street with reports that a white rental van hit a number of pedestrians while driving south toward Sheppard Avenue from Finch Avenue.

READ MORE: Toronto van attack suspect charged with 3 more counts of attempted murder

Alek Minassian, 25, of Richmond Hill, Ont., now faces 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder in connection to the incident.

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Just days after learning more details about the attack, Pourheidary and Sekhavati discovered a friend was one of the injured.

“We were just shocked and speechless. we couldn’t believe that one of our close friends and family was in this event,” Sakhavati said. It compelled the pair to put on a free workshop teaching people first aid basics.

READ MORE: These are the victims of the Toronto van attack

“We wanted to do this workshop. we wanted to bring people to learn different skills and they know that when something happens, they can help individuals,” Pourheidary said.

“We said you know what, maybe we can create a free workshop just to break down the bystander barrier… because a lot of the time people don’t know if they have to act, who is going to act, and who is going to call 911.”

The workshop was held at Mel Lastman Square, the location of the attack, and while it isn’t a full Red Cross training course, Pourheidary said the skills will help people feel confident in helping if an emergency situation unfolds in front of them.

“There are six stations,” he said.

READ MORE: ‘It will be a long road to recovery’: Toronto van attack victim shares story from hospital bed

“One of the stations will be looking at recognising and emergency… then we have stations in CPR, AED stations, bleeding stations — we show how to take care of minor bleeds, amputation and puncture wounds…and we also have a station on choking and heart attack and stroke.”

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Laurie Henderson said she saw details about the free event and signed up immediately.

“I dont want to be afraid to do CPR on somebody,” she told Global News on Saturday.

“Some of those people are alive today because pedestrians knew what to do and they CPR or first aid…and the more of us that know how to do [CPR and First Aid] the better we are.”


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