First responders in Niagara County are renewing a push to train residents in CPR. One of the people getting trained this year has a very personal reason for doing so.

Tom Mooradian doesn’t look like the type of person who might go into cardiac arrest. He is a healthy 55-year-old husband and father, who plays hockey three times a week. It was during a skate on December 20th at Hockey Outlet in Wheatfield that he learned how fragile life can be.

“I looked over my shoulder and I said, ‘Oh, three minutes. I’ll get out again,'” Mooradian recalled. “I remember skating to the bench, sitting on the bench. I slide over. That’s all I remember.”

His teammates later filled him in on the rest of the story.

“Ken, who was sitting next to me, panicked and started to yell from what the boys tell me,” Mooradian said. “They all came over and about four of them lifted me over the boards. Four more guys caught me and put me on the ice. They started performing CPR.”

When Mooradian came to, he was lying on the ice. First responders had arrived to take over by now.

“About five years prior, the guys I skate with on Thursdays lost a friend,” Mooradian pointed out. “I never knew Billy. But thanks to Billy, they raised money for a defibrillator to have at (Hockey Outlet).”

That defibrillator saved Mooradians life after he went into cardiac arrest.

So on Saturday, Mooradian took a step to pay it forward. He was among those at the Sanborn Fire Hall getting CPR training. He’s taking part in the “100 Lives in 100 Days” program.

“It’s the goal of this event to have as many people trained in this lifesaving skill,” said Tri-Community Ambulance Service 2nd Assistant Chief Philip Richardson.

Through the program, CPR classes are offered free of charge to anyone who wants to learn. It’s paid for by Tri-Community Ambulance and Action CPR. In 2018, the first year of the program, more than 160 people were trained. It’s a skill necessary in Western New York, first responders say, because the rate of cardiac arrest is high.

“The reason we probably have the highest cardiac arrests in Western New York is because we like our pizza and chicken wings,” joked Adams Fire Company Assistant Chief Don Lauer, who responded to Mooradian’s call in December. 

Mooradian later found out he had a clogged artery. He has been undergoing cardio-rehab since his episode. But he took a break from that Saturday to be able to potentially save the next Tom Mooradian.

“If I run into a situation, hopefully I can come to bat and help somebody out,” he said.

There are six more training sessions under the “100 Lives in 100 Days” program:

-March 30th at Pekin Fire Company

-April 6th at St. Johnsburg Fire Company

-April 27th at Bergholz Fire Company

-May 4th at Shawnee Fire Company

-May 18th at St. Johnsburg Fire Company

June 1st at Lewiston #1 Fire Company

You can register by clicking here.