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Teaching CPR in High Schools in Los Angeles

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of preventable death. 

In a densely populated region like Los Angeles and greater Southern California, the strain on the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system is growing. These days, firefighters spend most of their time on EMS responses. In most places, they are vastly out-numbered by the populace, and can’t always respond in time to render life saving care (arrival in less than five minutes). Therefore, bystander intervention is crucial in those critical first minutes after SCA. 

Studies show that intervention such as “Hands Only CPR” at the earliest possible time saves lives. MySafe:LA is working to get more people trained in this relatively simple, yet critical, life-saving skill.

This is the spirit of a new law in California (Assembly Bill 1719), which makes “Hands Only CPR” a prerequisite for graduation from high school. Think about that mandate. Every high school that offers a health class must also offer training in “Hands Only CPR”.  That’s thousands of schools, and millions of students in California. How are already budget-strapped school districts going to provide this training, especially when it was mandated without any input from the various districts involved?

In anticipation of the new law taking effect, MySafe:LA developed a pilot-program to teach hands-only CPR and use of an AED. Developed in conjunction with the American Heart Association and the Los Angeles Fire Department, we delivered the program in LA Unified School District high schools. It’s been a tremendous success, with more than 4,000 students trained to save a life, at no cost to the City of LA or the school district. 

This isn’t abut the LAUSD — it’s about helping young people to be better prepared.

To get an entire LA Unified School District student body of high school seniors CPR-trained can take two full school days, with MySafe:LA instructors on-site from 7am to 3pm. MySafe:LA CPR trainers need to be Paramedics, EMTs, or First Responders, and must receive ongoing training to keep their instructor skills up to snuff.

Each of us is at risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest, and each of us can be saved by early and effective intervention. Hands Only CPR is that early and effective intervention. The more people who know this life-saving skill, the better the chances that somebody will step up and save your life … or the life of someone you love. MySafe:LA is actively working to create more citizen first responders as part of our mission to create a more resilient community.

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