Margie Lear, says it's that fear that brought her to the Reno Fire Station number two for the CPR Saturday class.
"I can't imagine a more helpless feeling to watch a fellow human being die in front of you and just stand around. I had to give the heimlich maneuver one time to a friend who was choking on a piece of meat. It was quite frightening... I didn't do it properly because I did hurt his rib, but it did save his life."
Holiday stress and the cold weather are risk factors that health experts say lead to so many heart attacks this time of the year.
Besides protecting yourself by dressing in layers, taking breaks between shopping trips and drinking plenty of water.
The instructor, EMS Captain Joe Leader, says it could be you providing emergency services.
"People are busy, up late, partying, just a lot of things that go along with the extra stress level."
That's why this class teaches basic technique, that every students realizes could really mean the difference between life and death at their hands.
"So, it's shake and shout.
Look, listen and feel.
Look, listen and feel for circulation.... on and on."
Lear says she learns the basics because it's the basic statistics that scared her.
"The person has about four minutes to survive and if you cannot do something to help them, they will die."
Those interested in taking the class should call 775-789-5514. The class is $20 to cover the cost of student manual and materials.