DVDs and blow-up dolls from the American Heart Association may soon save lives on campus.
Part of a take-home kit, these tools can teach anyone - regardless of medical background - how to perform CPR through a 22-minute hands-on video tutorial.
Efforts at getting these kits subsidized and available to students have been pioneered by College senior Kirk Lozada and Benjamin Abella, clinical research director for Penn's Center for Resuscitation Science.
The ultimate goal is to train all freshmen in CPR techniques, so that, four years from now, the entire student body will know CPR, said Lozada.
With support from departments such as the Office of Health Education and Student Health Services, the pair has raised $2,500 to subsidize more than 200 kits that will be distributed free to students as part of a pilot program.
With more funding, they hope to get as many undergraduates versed in CPR as possible and serve as a model for other universities, Lozada said. The details of the training program are still being finalized.
In a trial of about 10 Penn students, the response was positive. "People [were] saying it should be mandatory," Lozada said.
"Student and staff response so far has been extremely positive," OHE director Susan Villari wrote in an e-mail. She added that she thought the program would be popular and easily available.
After initial collapse, CPR must be carried out immediately. Once cardiac arrest starts, brain death follows in the next four to six minutes.
Every minute after an individual experiences a heart attack, chances of survival fall by 10 percent, said Abella.
In the time it takes to alert an emergency response team, odds of survival plummet.
CPR doesn't require specialized equipment and "empowers people to help right away," Abella added.
Although the kit doesn't grant CPR certification, the AHA kit offers more hands-on practice at a fraction of the cost and time-commitment of an official class.
Studies have shown that the kit trains as effectively as a traditional four-hour course, Abella added.
College students have not traditionally been targeted for CPR training. The ideal age group to train would be 50- to 60-year-olds, who are more vulnerable to cardiac infarction.
But people in their early 20s have parents in that age bracket, explained Abella. The mobility of the kits enables students to bring them back home to teach family members.
Lozada, who has been an EMT for more than two years, became interested in cardiac arrest after hearing Abella give a lecture. Lozada contacted Abella about spreading CPR education to the student body and began planning logistics over the summer.
Abella has also been involved in city-wide initiatives.
Hundreds of city employees turned out to learn CPR at City Hall over the summer, including Mayor Michael Nutter. The program was so successful that Nutter declared June 18 to be Philadelphia CPR Training Day.Comments powered by Disqus
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