Akron City Council members took a break from politics Monday for a life lesson.

Nine council members and Council Clerk Bob Keith completed an hour-long CPR course.

“Who’s going to be the real person who volunteers?” joked Councilman Jeff Fusco as he and the other city officials practiced chest compressions on mannequins.

No one stepped forward — they’re no dummies.

Council President Garry Moneypenny organized the training session, which he thought of last month when council honored an Akron police officer who saved a man from choking at a local restaurant. He said he looked around the horseshoe at his 12 fellow council members and wondered, “What would happen if someone here goes down?” He polled council members and found that several had never been trained in CPR or hadn’t for several years.

Shortly after this meeting, Moneypenny received an email from Tony Lindeman, a councilman in Doylestown telling him about how Wooster City Council had CPR training last year and urged Akron City Council to follow suit. Lindeman has been pushing for more CPR training since 2012 when two nurses performed CPR on him when he went into cardiac arrest during the Akron Marathon.

Lindeman attended Akron City Council’s training Monday, along with the two nurses who saved him. Dr. Terry Gordon, a retired Akron doctor who has led the charge to make automatic external defibrillator (AED) units more accessible in the Akron area, led the training.

The training was free with assistance from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. The trainers emphasized using chest compressions on someone in cardiac arrest over mouth-to-mouth, which some may be averse to performing on a stranger.

Gordon also instructed the city officials on the proper use of AEDs. Akron City Hall has AEDs on every other floor, including one outside council chambers.

“The key is to use it,” Gordon said.

Moneypenny said he is hoping other local government entities and businesses will decide to follow Akron’s lead and offer CPR training.

“It’s a tremendous skill to have,” he said.

For Councilman Mike Freeman, the training session fulfilled a goal he’d had since 2011 when he helped perform CPR on Anthony Gorant, the late Akron executive who was then an Akron Planning Commission member. Freeman said he was talking to Gorant when he stopped in mid-sentence and stared blankly. Freeman said he shook Gorant and then started CPR. Others rushed in to help, reviving Gorant, who was then taken to the hospital.

“It was the scariest day of my life,” Freeman said.

Freeman said he planned to take a CPR class to refresh his training, but didn’t follow through until Monday.

Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705 or swarsmith@thebeaconjournal.com.