Source: GMN News Health
Cardiac arrest is more common than one might think. It can happen to anyone at any time, including our youth. In fact, the American Heart Association estimates that there are approximately 100 student athlete fatalities each year from sudden cardiac arrest.
“Just a few months ago, an 18-year-old from Monmouth county suffered sudden cardiac arrest while swimming. Only hours later, a 16-year-old from Ocean County suffered a life-threatening asthma attack while riding his bike, resulting in his heart stopping. In both cases, bystanders started CPR and called 911,” says says Dawn Calderon, D.O. chief of cardiology at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.
Now, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno has signed into law legislation that requires public and charter schools that include grades nine through 12 to provide instruction in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) as part of the existing health education curriculum.
Under the bill, instruction in CPR and the use of an AED would be provided to each high school student prior to graduation as part of the district’s implementation of the Core Curriculum Content Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education. School districts may select a no-cost, non-certification instructional program to meet this requirement…
“Despite great advances in medical research, there is still no feasible and reliable way to predict these events, so there is no reliable way to prevent their occurrence. Our focus is on early recognition and immediate treatment,” says Dr. Calderon. “When we launched ‘Community of Life Savers’, our goal was to train at least 5,000 Monmouth and Ocean county high school students in the first year. To date, we have taught more than 2,700 students the skills they need. Now that this vital training is law, we are confident that we’ll exceed this goal and are excited at the prospect of working with so many youth in the community.”
Studies show that when everyday people are equipped with the skills to perform CPR, survival rates can double or even triple.
Meridian Health has partnered with the American Heart Association in a landmark, multi-year initiative to create a Community of Life Savers. The program was launched in Monmouth and Ocean counties in March 2014.Meridian Health’s program is offered at no cost to schools or students. Additionally, the program is also set up in a way that it builds a sustainable CPR training infrastructure; Meridian will train staff from each school district as a CPR instructor, enabling them to train additional teachers, administrators and students in their district.
Providing broad CPR training to the community has been part of Meridian’s educational offerings for years. In 2013, Meridian taught 19,324 people, which include health care workers, fire fighters, police, teachers, EMTs, and other community members. “This is a big step toward arming an army of people of all ages with the skill set to perform CPR and use an AED, which gives them the power to save a life,” says Dr. Calderon. “Meridian Health is a huge supporter of this bill, as it is strongly aligned with our ‘Community of Life Savers’ program that was launched earlier this year.”