By Pam Slater-Price
District Three Supervisor
Despite widespread awareness that CPR saves lives, only 15 to 30 percent of cardiac arrest victims receive this crucial intervention. And for every minute without CPR, the survival rate for cardiac arrest falls by seven to 10 percent. Nationally, 166,200 out of hospital sudden cardiac arrest deaths occur every year - a statistic that could be greatly reduced by giving people the knowledge and tools to help.
As we approach the holiday season, we are excited to launch the "Heart Safe San Diego County" campaign aimed at increasing the number of San Diegans capable of providing bystander CPR, or Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. This unique community partnership between the American Heart Association, San Diego Project Heart Beat, and Supervisor Pam Slater-Price hopes to improve cardiac outcomes throughout San Diego County by increasing the availability and training of bystander CPR.
On Dec. 15, we began by reaching out to 650 9th Grade students at Westview High School in Supervisorial District 3. The students received the American Heart Association's "CPR Anytime" training program in their health/physical education class. The training sessions were led by paramedics and emergency medical technicians from a local EMS agency.
These CPR-trained students, who we call "Holiday Heroes," were encouraged to take their kits home to train family and friends in bystander CPR. For every one student who takes home their CPR kits, it is estimated that they will train 2.5 more people - significantly expanding the reach of our program.
All "CPR Anytime" kits include DVDs with information in English, Spanish, and closed captioning. The impact of "CPR Anytime" training in San Diego will be evaluated by the Community Program Assessment Tool (COMPASS), a database developed by the American Heart Association National Emergency Cardiovascular Care Department.
COMPASS will measure the efficacy of the "CPR Anytime" program including the number of individuals directly and indirectly trained. Through the COMPASS evaluation, we will be able to report our results to the County of San Diego and affiliated partners annually.
This holiday season, learning to save a life could be the greatest gift of all.