Teaching CPR in Schools: Building a Resilient Generation in Louisville

Kentucky ranks sixth among US states with the highest rates of heart disease deaths – 386 deaths per 100,000 people. To make things more concerning, out of 65% of people who have taken CPR classes at some point, only 18% are up to date with their CPR training.

This is the main reason why many US states have passed laws requiring CPR and AED training for high school students and teachers. On that note, CPR training is required for high school graduation in 43 states, including Kentucky.

Here are the main benefits of teaching CPR in schools in Louisville.

How Can CPR Training Benefit Students?

According to data collected by the American Heart Association, approximately 436,000 Americans die of cardiac arrest each year, while more than 350,000 OHCA cases occur outside the hospital, mostly in homes and public institutions.

Another study shows that the survival rate of hospitalized pediatric patients who received CPR before arriving at the hospital increased from 19% in 2000 to 38% in 2018.

What’s more, based on research conducted by the American College of Cardiology, states that have implemented the law on mandatory cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillator training in high schools have higher rates of bystander CPR survival after OHCA, compared to states that haven’t implemented this law.

These figures emphasize the importance of knowing how to perform CPR since its use can increase someone’s chances of survival by two or threefold. That said, learning how to perform CPR and how to use AED can benefit students in more than one way:

CPR Training Can Help Students Build Confidence

Since CPR courses are divided into theoretical and practical segments, students will not only learn how to use CPR on the victims of heart failure but will also learn everything about the anatomy of the heart and the signs of cardiac arrest.

This knowledge will help them feel more confident, knowing they have the appropriate life-saving skills. Likewise, CPR training will help them build a sense of responsibility.

CPR Training Can Help Students With Their Career

Since many professions require a CPR certificate, learning CPR in school can be beneficial for students’ future careers. This knowledge will be especially valuable to those who want to become healthcare professionals, emergency responders, nurses and nursing assistants, caregivers, childcare workers, or firefighters.

Namely, by learning CPR in school, students will become familiar with the basics of this technique, meaning they won’t have problems passing CPR tests every two years for recertification.

CPR Training Can Benefit the Community

Students can also use their CPR knowledge to volunteer, which will help them gain experience and benefit their community. CPR education is especially important in rural areas since it takes an average of 14 minutes for EMS to arrive on the scene.

How Do Student CPR Programs Look Like?

In most high schools, CPR courses are a part of the physical education class. That said, students from Louisville will be able to attend two types of courses – Student CPR Awareness Level and Community CPR Certificate Program.

The first program is made of online courses that last for 1 hour and hands-on sessions that last 5 to 10 minutes, followed by a 20-minute test. Students will also be provided with an adult manikin for practice. However, students don’t get a certificate by completing this course.

On the other hand, pupils who attend the Community CPR Certificate Program will have to listen to 1-hour online classes in addition to hands-on sessions that last between 20 and 25 minutes, followed by a 20-minute test.

When it comes to tests, students will have to answer 30 to 50 multiple-choice questions related to basic theory and real-life situations. The questions may include:

      • How deep should you push on the chest of an adult when you do hands-only CPR?

    Exercises will be performed on adult and infant manikins, and trainees will also learn how to use an AED. For successful completion of this course, students will receive a 2-year community CPR certification.

    How Can CPR Training Benefit Teachers?

    CPR training is mandatory for teachers in 18 states, including Kentucky. On that note, in Louisville, school teachers are required to learn both first aid and CPR.

    Not knowing the basics of CPR can put students in danger, especially in cases of choking or other problems that can cause cardiac arrest. This is why it’s vital that public school teachers, as well as the rest of the school staff, know how to perform chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

    Here’s how CPR training can benefit teachers:

        • In cases of sudden cardiac arrest, teachers who know how to perform CPR will be able to help the victim until professional help arrives.

        • A teacher who has gone through CPR training will be able to recognize the signs of heart failure, which will allow them to react in time. A timely reaction will increase the chances of the victim’s survival.

        • Teachers who have a CPR certificate will motivate their students to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation since they will act as role models for how to act in the case of an emergency.

        • A school whose staff has knowledge of the basics of CPR will attract more students as it will offer a safer environment. This will help them stand out from the competition.

      How Kentucky Schools Overcame the Biggest Challenges of Implementing CPR Training in School Programs

      While learning how to perform CPR is important, schools may find it difficult to implement CPR training in their programs, mostly due to additional costs, time management, and the struggle with finding qualified instructors:

      Additional Costs

      Public schools in Kentucky had problems finding extra funds to provide CPR education, especially since this program requires supplies, such as adult and infant manikins, automated external defibrillators, and first aid training kits.

      However, the schools found a solution to this problem by teaming up with health organizations, such as Oldham County Emergency Medical Services, who donated CPR and first aid training kits.

      Time Management

      High schools in Louisville offer a large number of mandatory classes, which means that adding an additional course could be a problem regarding the curriculum. In order to solve this problem, many schools started implementing CPR training as part of the physical education class, thus reducing the pressure on the curriculum.

      Finding Qualified Instructors

      Based on a 2016 survey conducted on 424 schools across 32 states, 11% of schools used non-certified CPR coaches. In order to improve the situation and increase awareness among students about heart diseases, the state of Kentucky passed a law in which all teachers in Kentucky must be certified in first aid, adult, child, and infant CPR, as well as using AEDs.

      The Main Challenges Students May Face While Performing CPR

      Performing CPR can be stressful for many students because, in addition to physical effort, it also carries the risk of hurting the victim or contracting a disease. Here are the most common challenges that students need to know about:

          • Performing CPR requires physical strength: Many students may find it hard to perform chest compressions and rescue breathing for a long time as it requires stamina. Therefore, hands-on sessions are a vital part of CPR training as they will help students practice.

          • Fear of performing CPR incorrectly: Since these are stressful situations in which one must react immediately, many students may find it difficult to remain focused and calm, which can lead to hesitation or improper CPR performance. By learning CPR at school, students will learn how to deal with stressful situations, focus on the goal, and be confident in what they’re doing.

          • Legal issues: Students may decide not to react due to fear of a possible lawsuit if the victim is injured during CPR. However, due to the Good Samaritan law, a student who performs CPR won’t be responsible for possible injuries, such as broken ribs, as long as they weren’t intentionally negligent.

          • Shortage of equipment: Not all schools provide the necessary equipment, such as AEDs, which can represent a problem for students who need to perform CPR. This is why it is vital that CPR training becomes mandatory in all schools. In this way, both students and schools will be ready for all types of emergencies.

        Building a Resilient Generation in Louisville: Conclusion

        To conclude, teaching CPR in schools is of vital importance since it educates new generations on how to save someone’s life by responding in a timely manner. CPR training will also help students become more confident and responsible and stay calm in cases of emergencies. What’s more, CPR education can aid students in future careers since many institutions require CPR certificates.

        On that note, teaching CPR in schools will not only build a resilient generation in Louisville, but will also make the entire community much more aware of the importance of heart health.