Guest Blogger: Lisa Michael
One of the American Heart Association's areas of focus includes Access To Care. This means supporting emergency systems, advocating for AED purchase or placement, and educating citizens in life-saving techniques. Currently for Montana's goal, this translates to CPR training for high school students.
My school requires its teachers and staff to be retrained every two years, usually for only a few hours, in administering CPR. It isn't such a leap, then, that older students could also learn CPR at school, in a short amount of time, to be able to act quickly in an emergency. Rather than running to find a trained adult, the student could call 911 and begin compressions immediately. These two simple steps are all it takes to perform Hands-Only CPR, a proven method to increase the likelihood of survival.
A highlight from a recent scientific statement about targeting CPR training in high-risk neighborhoods says, “Survival rates are influenced in part by bystanders’ willingness to do CPR.” We know that every second counts when responding to an emergency. In fact, the AHA states that, “for every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, the chances of survival decreases by 7-10 percent.” If we train young adults to step in and act right away, we can confront these statistics head on.
This advocacy issue is a unique one because it doesn't go through the typical legislative channels. As a teacher, I am informed of my students' requirements by the Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI), which in turn is influenced, in part, by the State Board of Education. Rather than calling a local representative or state senator, an advocate needs to work at a grass-roots level by speaking with their local school officials – and this needs to happen across the state – for change to be affected. The administration at the district level likely has someone at OPI with whom they can communicate the needs of the community, and when an issue has community support state-wide, the people with decision-making powers will listen.
As an educator, I see the power of knowledge first hand. Our students are intelligent, capable leaders and if we put this training in place, they can truly make a difference.
For more information visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSgmledxFe8