Montana communities need more citizens properly trained in CPR. Nationwide, emergency medical services (EMS) teams treat nearly 300,000 victims of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) each year. The first few minutes of response are critical and often the EMS teams cannot arrive in time, making ordinary citizens the lifeline a victim will be depending upon. Fewer than eight percent of SCA victims survive. A victim’s chance of survival doubles or triples if a bystander is trained in CPR; yet only one-in-four SCA victims receive bystander CPR.
Montana’s schools are important in the community effort to spread CPR awareness. Our schools are natural gateways to teach an entire generation how to respond to sudden cardiac arrest. Schools are intended to prepare students to contribute to their communities and the ability to administer CPR is an essential contribution.
Teaching a student CPR saves lives. In August 2012 Major League Baseball Umpire Jim Joyce performed CPR on an Arizona Diamondbacks food service worker who had gone in to cardiac arrest. Using skills Joyce learned decades earlier in high school, he administered CPR ultimately saving the worker’s life. This scenario could play out again and again in Montana if CPR was part of the state’s curriculum for students.