Teaching High School Students Not to be Bystanders When it Comes to CPR
The statistics should get your attention: More than 420,000 people suffer sudden cardiac arrest every year in the United States. 9 out of 10 of them will die.
In 2012, the rate of survival in the state of Illinois was so poor it was selected to receive a $2.5 million grant from the Medtronic Foundation to change that. Illinois Heart Rescue is the result.
Illinois Heart Rescue is a volunteer-driven organization that partners with EMS, hospitals, and community organizations throughout the state coordinating efforts to improve rates of cardiac arrest resuscitation. Because of their efforts, cardiac arrest survival rates have quadrupled in Illinois, and bystander CPR rates have tripled in the past six years.
Limestone High School in Bartonville, Illinois became the first high school in the state to train its entire student body – about 800 students – along with faculty and staff in bystander CPR.
"These kids are all smart, they’re motivated to learn. We get them in, we have them watch a 4-and-a-half minute video, we get them down on the ground kind of reinforcing that tactile skill, we let them use AED trainers, and by the end of the training these kids have tremendous confidence," says Teri Campbell, Director, Illinois Heart Rescue.
Full CPR training typically takes 2 hours and costs money. The Limestone High students learned hands-only CPR in a class period, including how hard and fast you need to push a person’s chest. They also worked with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) trainer. Each student commits to train another three-to-five people.
Teri Campbell, who is a flight nurse as well as director of Illinois Heart Rescue, says kids play a pivotal role in encouraging CPR training.
If kids go home and say “mom, I need to teach you this, it’s part of my homework,” no matter how busy that mom is, she’s going to put down whatever she’s doing, she’s going to pay attention and she’s going to learn that lifesaving skill," Campbell added.
Illinois Heart Rescue teamed with OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center, OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital, and Advanced Medical Transport (AMT) to make Limestone High a Heart Safe school.
Illinois Heart Rescue has donated CPR training supplies to every high school in the state to help them fulfill the Lauren’s Law mandate which requires high schools to offer bystander CPR training for students before graduation.
A toolkit for teachers and other resources are available on the Illinois Heart Rescue website.