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The Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) hosted a campus-wide CPR training event on Feb. 11.

Credit: Sydney Curran

Penn Medical Emergency Response Team hosted a free, five-minute CPR training across multiple campus buildings last weekend. 

The training was available at MERT’s CPR stations throughout Feb. 11 in various College Houses, Huntsman Hall, Pottruck Gymnasium, Houston Hall, 1920 Commons, and the Van Pelt Button. 617 people were trained across 14 locations around campus — an increase from the 434 people trained last year.

The training involved performing hands-only CPR on a test dummy on the floor with instruction from MERT students. The event was hosted jointly with Wellness at Penn,  CHAS, JHealth, the Center for Resuscitation Science, Division of Public Safety, the Undergraduate Assembly, and SCUE

While the brief training did not serve as an official CPR certification, it helped to introduce students to hands-only CPR. A MERT statement described CPR as an “easy and effective way for any bystander to double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival, especially if they act immediately.”

“We aim to coach as many people as possible through the basics of chest compressions,” College junior and MERT Chief Micaela Alpert wrote to the DP. Alpert added that research has demonstrated that compression-only CPR initiated immediately — or within minutes of the initial arrest — can be just as effective as traditional CPR which includes rescue breathing.

“Possessing these skills as a bystander witnessing cardiac arrest can be the difference between life and death and can largely improve long-term cardiac arrest outcomes,” Alpert wrote. 

This is the second annual hosting of MERT's campus-wide CPR event. One of MERT’s new goals for this year’s event was to extend to the broader West Philadelphia community by adding more stations around campus. 

Alpert wrote that MERT has also been extending their outreach in other ways than this training, including implementing new community outreach programs about cardiac arrest awareness and accessible CPR education.

“While MERT, the Division of Public Safety, and the Philadelphia Fire Department will always respond to medical emergencies on campus when called upon, we want those in the Penn and West Philadelphia communities to feel comfortable and confident that they would know how to respond should they ever face such an emergency in the future,” Alpert wrote.