BOSTON - Mayor Thomas M. Menino kicked off the first National Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Awareness Week at Charlestown High School, one of several Boston Public Schools where students taking health classes are being trained to recognize sudden cardiac arrest, administer CPR, and use an AED. He also announced a $30,000 donation from Philips Healthcare to support CPR training in the schools.
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“Learning CPR and other techniques are important skills that could help save a life someday,” Mayor Menino said. “This is a terrific opportunity for our students to gain experience in areas that may help others as well as shape their futures.”
Joining Mayor Menino at the event were representatives from the American Heart Association (AHA), Philips Healthcare, Boston Emergency Medical Services (EMS), the Boston Public Health Commission, and Boston Public Schools (BPS). All spoke about the importance of residents having CPR and AED skills that can help save lives.
This marks the second year that BPS students enrolled in health education classes are receiving CPR training, based on a curriculum developed by BPS, AHA, and EMS. Rather than the standard 3.5-hour certification course, students are taught lifesaving CPR skills in an intensive 45-minutes class. First piloted during the 2006-2007 school year, more than 1,500 students were trained in CPR that year, and an estimated 2,000 students will be trained by the end of the 2007-2008 school year.
"The Boston Public Schools is dedicated to providing a comprehensive education to all of our students that prepares them academically and to be good citizens," Superintendent Carol R. Johnson said. "We want our students to be well-rounded and to possess life skills that will help them succeed in higher education and the work world but also train them to be committed and contributing members of our community. This CPR training is a vital skill that will not only help save lives in school but also in the neighborhoods. We are thankful to Philips, the American Heart Association and our colleagues in the Boston Public Health Commission and Boston Emergency Medical Services for their leadership on this
The goal of the training is to increase bystander-initiated CPR and AED use. While waiting for first responders, such as EMS or fire rescue, bystanders can buy valuable time to help keep the heart and brain oxygenated and improve the survival rate of cardiac arrest victims. CPR more than doubles the
chance that the cardiac arrest victim will survive. Boston EMS says that only 13 percent of cardiac arrest cases involve a citizen performing CPR when they arrive on scene, a figure they hope this program will increase.
To mark National CPR/AED Awareness Week, Philips Healthcare donated $30,000 to support CPR training in the schools. The donation will be used to purchase 1,500 of the American Heart Association’s Family and Friends™ CPR Anytime™ Kits that Boston EMS and BPS faculty will use to
train students in CPR. Each kit includes a personal, inflatable Manikin (Mini Anne), a CPR Anytime Skills Practice DVD, a CPR for Family and Friends resource booklet, and other accessories for the program.
“Philips Healthcare is committed to supporting the CPR training program in the Boston Public Schools and to help extend the program to even more students in our local community,” said Michael Miller, senior vice president of Cardiac Care at Philips Healthcare. “We are delighted that our donation will allow more students to receive training by the end of this school year. Although we sincerely hope that
the schools are never faced with such a medical emergency, we are glad that they are prepared with the knowledge and equipment to save lives.”
In addition to teaching CPR in the schools, Boston EMS has facilitated the placement of more than 400 AEDs in public places, businesses, and schools. Used in conjunction with CPR, these devices can help save lives by restoring a normal heart rhythm to a victim of ventricular fibrillation, the most
common cause of sudden cardiac arrest. Simple to use, the units talk the rescuer through CPR and defibrillation.
“Students are almost universally excited about learning CPR and how to use an AED,” said Dr. Peter Moyer, medical director for Boston EMS. “They gain a lifesaving skill and become contributors to society. Exposed to medical procedures and EMS personnel, some will be inspired to become health professionals.”
Nationally, there is a 95 percent mortality rate for the more than 300,000 Americans who are victims of sudden cardiac arrest each year, according to the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association. Reacting to these staggering numbers, in December 2007, Congress designated the first week of June each year as National CPR and AED Awareness
“We think it’s critical for people to get CPR training and learn how to use an AED,” said Charles Pozner, M.D., director of EMS at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and American Heart Association National Faculty for Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support. “CPR and AED use are inextricably linked in the sudden cardiac arrest survival chain, and it’s crucial that bystanders take rapid action. If more people are trained and respond, we can save thousands more lives.”