Louisville woman saves life while on vacation, encourages others to learn CPR

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville woman's Caribbean vacation took a turn when she discovered someone face down in a pool.

Emily McGrath used CPR to save that person's life. Now she's encouraging everyone to become certified.

A getaway on a tropical island was supposed to be a little rest and relaxation under the palm trees for McGrath and a friend. "We both have really stressful jobs, we both have been remodeling houses so that was the intention," she said.

However, her second day in Jamaica was anything but a day in paradise. "As we were hanging up our towels at this pool, I looked over at the pool and I saw a woman looking down," said McGrath.

Thirty seconds passed and the woman didn't move. That's when McGrath, her friend and a nearby couple jumped into action.

"My team at work had just done a team building event where we went through CPR and AED training," said McGrath. "My first thought was 'oh my gosh, I'm going to have to do this'."

Poolside, McGrath began CPR. "Two rescue breaths, 30 chest compressions," she said.

Soon after, a resort attendant brought an automated defibrillator. "On the third time it analyzed her. It said shock not advised. And it was the best words you've ever heard," McGrath said.

McGrath and her fellow vacationers happened to be at the right place at the right time for that woman. But had they not known CPR, the situation could have had a much different outcome. "You hope you never have to do it, but it saved her life," said McGrath.

All it took was a few hours of training.

"CPR is very easy. Anybody can do CPR," said Dee Troub, who teaches CPR through the American Red Cross in Louisville.

Troub is in the classroom up to five days a week teaching this life saving skill. "You need to make time, and it's one of those things you never know when you're going to need it," said Troub. "Probably about once a month, I have someone who says 'hey I used this training'."

Emily McGrath never thought she'd have to use the skills she learned in her CPR class. But she's glad she knew what to do in an emergency.

"Now she is home in Tuscon," said McGrath. "She gets to see her kids again."

The Red Cross offers CPR classes on a regular basis. Click here for class schedules.

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