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Philadelphia offers free CPR and AED training to help reduce cardiac arrest deaths

por Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | June 14, 2016
Medical Devices Population Health Risk Management
In the past year, cardiac arrest has claimed the lives of over 1,100 Philadelphia residents — and yet the percentage of people in the city who received bystander CPR was less than half the national average. The Philadelphia Regional CPR Awareness Coalition (the Coalition) launched its CPR Ready campaign on Tuesday to train bystanders how to perform "hands-only" CPR and to use an automated external defibrillator (AED).

This campaign is a response to the lack of knowledge on how to react during a sudden cardiac arrest. Studies have revealed that 70 percent of Americans don’t act during an event either because they don’t know how to perform CPR or they’re afraid of hurting the victim.

The Coalition’s goal is to have CPR and AED training in at least half of the middle and high schools within in the next three years, but eventually it hopes to reach all schools in southeastern Pennsylvania. It’s also striving to triple overall CPR training in Greater Philadelphia and double the number of people who perform CPR after witnessing a cardiac arrest.

The hands-only CPR approach involves compressions to keep the heart pumping and doesn’t require mouth-to-mouth breaths. It only takes 30 minutes to learn and it has been shown to double or even triple a person’s chance of survival.

As part of the campaign, Penn Medicine launched its Mobile CPR Project on Tuesday as well, which aims to make CPR training more accessible to underserved communities in Philadelphia. With funds from the Independence Blue Cross Foundation, the project is holding free training in community centers, public libraries, faith organizations and shelters.

Training will be held several times a week using the American Heart Association video self-instruction kits. The kits can be taken home after, so the trainees can show their families and use it to practice their CPR skills.

Other organizations that are part of the campaign are the American Red Cross, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, CPR/AED Public Awareness and Training Network, The Health Care Improvement Foundation, Independence Blue Cross, Philadelphia Fire Department and the School District of Philadelphia.

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