CUMBERLAND HEAD Many people take the time to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation, more commonly known as CPR, in case an emergency should ever arise when they need to use it. However, some people are now finding a new way to learn. Friends of Sara and Bill Rowden gathered at their home Sept. 17 to join in a CPR party, a new trend crossing the nation in which people gather in a relaxed setting to learn the basics of CPR. I read about the CPR party in an on-line health and safety newsletter and thought it would be neat to try the idea here, explained Jeanie D. Roberts, executive director of the North Country chapter of the American Red Cross. I think it is a different venue than the formal classroom setting, added Roberts. The hosts invite people from their circle of friends and that makes it more relaxed. A group of six were taught CPR and other lifesaving lessons by Bill, who is on the board of the American Red Cross. Im glad to do this [CPR party]. This is what I do, explained Bill, who teaches CPR to students at Northeastern Clinton Central School in Champlain as a part of their curriculum for swimming. I thought it was a great idea, said Henry Wurster, a friend of Bills who is on the ARC board with him. The whole concept of a little get together its relaxing and its easy to learn. Bill taught the group how to determine what lifesaving skill to use in an emergency, whether it be CPR or rescue breathing, and how to identify conscious and unconscious choking. He also explained how to modify the skill based on a persons age or size. The group practiced these techniques on mannequins as if they were in an emergency situation. I put a lot of emphasis on hands-on training as opposed to paper tests, said Bill. Im not trying to save a piece of paper, Im trying to save a body. I cover all the bases, but you learn by doing. Wurster, who hadnt taken a CPR class in many years, said he remembered some of what he learned in the past, but not all. Actually, from what I remember, it seems a whole lot simpler and a lot more common sense. Check for airways and check for the heart, said Wurster. I remember as I was younger, it always seemed like such magic, it was almost like being a doctor. But, now ... the way its being taught, anybody can do it and thats the benefit of it. Bill suggested people should put a cheat card of the basics for each technique somewhere they can access it quickly and study it often. If interested in hosting your own CPR party, contact Jeanie Roberts or Bob Robare at the ARC at 561-7280.