21 Jul Pennsylvania Should Ensure All Students are Trained in Hands-Only CPR
Over 350,000 sudden cardiac arrests occur without warning each year in the United States, and approximately 88% occur at home. This medical tragedy is compounded by the fact that more than 70% of Americans feel helpless to assist because they were never taught CPR or, if taught, believe their training is outdated. A solution that could save the lives of your family and friends is to ensure all schools teach CPR while students are in High School.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a proven lifesaving tool that is easy to learn and to use. Every hour, 48 people will have a cardiac arrest event outside of a hospital, and of these individuals, 9 out of ten will not survive. If CPR is administered, the likelihood of survival can double or even triple – an important incentive for as many people as possible to learn CPR. If it happened to you, wouldn’t you want someone around you who could administer CPR and save your life? In fact, wouldn’t you want students to learn this skill while in high school? According to recent polling, over 80% of Pennsylvanians want this training to be part of the educational curriculum.
It makes sense for high school students to learn CPR at the same time they are learning other life skills. In fact, many high school students have saved family, friends, and even teachers using CPR techniques they learned in health class. While many schools have offered students CPR training voluntarily, it is not a required course in Pennsylvania’s education curriculum.
The American Heart Association is the leader in CPR programs and provides tool kits and training equipment that are inexpensive and easy to use. Most of the American Heart Association’s programs do not require a certified instructor and can be incorporated into an existing health or wellness class curriculum.
Twenty-four other states have passed laws requiring high schools to train students in CPR. Wouldn’t it be great if Pennsylvania followed their lead and benefited from what they have learned? Pennsylvania should ensure all students are trained in hands-only CPR implementing a law should not be difficult and is inexpensive to implement. Schools can partner with local emergency responder groups who offer training or can purchase CPR kits at little to no cost. These kits may be used repeatedly and with groups of 10-20 students at a time. This lifesaving program’s minimal costs are far outweighed by the benefits to our communities by adding thousands of individuals equipped to render emergency CPR services. The American Heart Association is striving to bring heart health awareness to the public, including helpful tips in reducing your likelihood of heart disease. But until we reach a level where our society has healthier hearts, we must prepare our students, friends and families in case of an emergency to care for those whose hearts may have already been damaged by past decisions and bad habits. You can find more information on the American Heart Association’s website: www.heart.org.