Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops and can no longer pump blood to the brain or vital organs. Nearly 38 people an hour suffer a cardiac arrest at home, work, or even church— that is 420,000 people on an annual basis. MySafe:LA and the Los Angeles Fire Department are working to teach high school students and faculty the importance of knowing how to perform “hands-only” CPR, how to communicate with 911 call takers, and how to give people experiencing cardiac arrest a better chance to survive. MySafe:LA, a California non-profit organization is the public education partner of the LAFD.
If performed immediately, CPR can double or triple a person’s chance of survival. Sadly, that happens less than 10 percent of the time outside of the hospital. Cardiac Arrest isn’t limited to individuals with heart disease. There are many reasons cardiac arrest may occur, and only rapid intervention can improve that person’s chances for survival. Our CPR initiative is designed to give any high school that goes through the program an opportunity to be better prepared whenever someone suffers an unexpected cardiac arrest.
Teaching high school students how to perform hands-only CPR is simple, easily retainable, and creates a more resilient campus. A complete Cardiac Emergency Response Plan (CERP) is an essential component to every 21st Century learning center’s readiness capabilities. To learn more about how a CERP can impact your high school, please see the attached American Heart Association 2016 Policy Brief.
The LAFD and MySafe:LA are supporting the creation of CERP in Los Angeles Unified School District campuses. The developmental process includes:
High school students who attend health classes take the hands-only CPR course. Each educational session lasts 50 minutes. A MySafe:LA or LAFD educational team can teach four to six classes in a day. Each high school will need to determine the total number of classes that this training may apply to. Even a single day allocated for this life saving educational experience can result in up to 300 students being CPR-aware.
CPR training for faculty can take place in any space where the faculty and educators have the opportunity to work together. This could include a gym, conference room, classroom, and auditorium. MySafe:LA and the LAFD will work with each high school’s leadership team to establish an appropriate schedule for training.
At a minimum, each participating high school will implement a working plan that follows the American Heart Association’s Guidelines for responding to cardiac arrest. Each plan may be slightly different, based on the needs of the high school.
All schools should have a CERP in place that contains the minimum, evidence-based core elements:
Note that many states are adopting new State laws, regulations and related educational standards that may require schools to develop and maintain a CERP program.
The individuals who deliver hands-only CPR are first responders who have successfully completed first-responder CPR and AED training. All LAFD members are EMTs, and many are Paramedics. All MySafe:LA educators are EMRs or EMTs, and several are paramedics. All MySafe:LA members have successfully completed the American Heart Association’s CPR and AED first responder training.
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