CPR in schools saves a life in The Bronx

A day after Bronx student, Louis Flores, 17, returned to school after being saved by a 26-year New York City public school system veteran when he collapsed on the gym floor, the American Heart Association is reminding New Yorkers that knowing CPR, especially in the school-setting, does save lives.

Just a few weeks after the Dec. 8 collapse, Flores is back in school thanks to some fast thinking and, most fundamentally, CPR and AED training. Effective bystander CPR, provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest, can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival. In fact, even most students age 13 or older have the physical size and strength necessary to deliver effective chest compressions.

“Since less than one-third of out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest victims actually receive bystander CPR, it’s clear that there’s a need to train bystanders of all ages,” said Wendy Mono, a member of the American Heart Association Advocacy Committee who tragically lost a family member when no one initiated CPR until EMS arrived. “In this case, someone knew CPR and how to use an AED but, in reality, not all students will be so lucky.”

“As a result of my family being impacted by cardiac arrest, I have lobbied in Albany with a group from the Pierson School on Long Island where they’ve been training students in CPR,” continued Mono. “These students have saved the lives of 16 people now, as a result of this program. Imagine how many lives could be saved if we trained every NY student! Now that I have been trained, I can’t emphasize how easy it is to perform CPR.”

A bill currently (S2491 / A3980) before the state legislature and strongly supported by the American Heart Association would ensure all students learn the lifesaving skills of CPR and instruction in the correct use of an AED prior to graduation.

“It’s a shame that we are still talking about this legislation. CPR is easy to perform and schools only need to take minutes out of the school year to teach this lifesaving skill,” said Robin Vitale, senior director of government relations, American Heart Association.

The American Heart Association’s 2010 revised CPR guidelines make it even easier for more people to perform CPR. A greater emphasis is now placed on the simplest step – chest compressions. Schools could have the option of teaching “Hands-Only CPR” which is CPR without mouth-to-mouth breaths.

Based upon the latest evidence and research, the American Heart Association issued a January 2011 scientific advisory that recommends CPR training with hands-on skills practice, and familiarization with an AED be taught to all students prior to graduation.

For more information on school CPR and the legislation, visit www.supportcprinschools.org.

Courtesy of American Heart Association

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