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Square One Medical provides training that saves lives

Class participants get some hands-on training during a CPR class. Submitted Photo

Education and re-education are things Square One Medical thrives on and enjoys, president and owner Kevin O’Neill said.

For 27 years, Square One Medical, based in Cranberry Township, has been helping businesses with first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) management and training to prepare for emergencies.

“We train hundreds of people a year in CPR in all walks of life,” O’Neill said. “From babysitters, manufacturers to day care centers.”

He said Square One is a master distributor of Zoll Medicals, a Massachusetts-based company. They also teach classes which involve CPR and AED training to businesses and anyone who wants to learn how to save lives.

O’Neill said he uses Zoll because “it’s the world’s only AED that gives you CPR feedback.”

“When you put the pads on the person, the machine is very intuitive. It tells you if you’re pressing hard enough or if you need to press harder,” he said.

Square One has a training center in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh which is utilized when clients cannot accommodate Square One at their place of business.

Square One offers two types of training classes.

One is two hours and focuses only on CPR and AED training. A four-hour class includes both aspects of the two-hour class but also introduces first aid.

“First, we like to review misconceptions about what cardiac arrest is,” O’Neill said. “There is a fear factor to whether they should be the person to tend to somebody or just depend on EMS. Our thing is there is no such thing as bad CPR. You need to have an emergency plan in place.”

O’Neill said they use social media to target certain markets. He sees needs primarily in schools, day care centers, prisons and places of business.

“The only two areas we do not service are EMS and hospitals,” O’Neill said. “Rather than try to sell what we do, we try to educate so people understand why they should have the combination of AEDs and CPR.”

O’Neill said 911 still should be called for someone in sudden cardiac arrest. He said they tell class participants they have a 10- to 15-minute window to save someone’s life when this happens.

“We have a very hands-on CPR class,” O’Neill said. “They really feel at the end of the class that they’ve learned everything to know about CPR and AED.

“When somebody falls down, you don’t know if they’re having a stroke or passed out from the heat. But we are going to assume the worst, and that’s what we need to do.”

The need for rapid response in such instances was witnessed by a national TV audience when Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, a McKees Rocks native, suffered cardiac arrest after tackling an opposing player during an NFL game Jan. 2 in Cincinnati.

“It showed how important it is to react quickly and know what you’re doing,” O’Neill said. “It educated the masses right on TV. This can happen to someone at any age.”

O’Neill said Hamlin’s injury made many people aware of the importance of CPR and AED during similar situations.

“There is a lot of press how he was saved by CPR, which he was,” O’Neill said. “CPR is a very important component, but 9% of people who go into cardiac arrest are revived with CPR only. That’s not very high. If an AED (device) that we sell is part of the lifesaving process, that number goes up to 56%.”

State Sen. Marty Flynn, D-Scranton, introduced a bill in February that would mandate AEDs at all sporting events in the state, something O’Neill said is a long time coming.

“Basically, that legislation is to ensure that there is an AED at every sporting event that occurs,” O’Neill said. “Particularly in schools. A lot of times there are EMS at the game that are prepared anyway, but sometimes for the sports that are not as high-profile, that’s not the case.”

Anyone interested in upcoming classes or wanting to schedule a Square One trainer to visit their business can visit its website at

“We want to make sure people are not taking EMS services for granted,” O’Neill said. “It’s a constant education, and it’s something we thrive on and enjoy.”

This article was originally published in the April edition of Butler County Business Matters.

Employees of McElwain Bros. Paint & Collision Center in Ellwood City pose following a Square One CPR training class. Submitted Photo

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