Five minutes. That’s all the time you have if you go into sudden cardiac arrest from a heart attack or other trauma. Five minutes is all you have for someone to start CPR before you risk brain damage or death.
As a member of the American Heart Association, Greater Southeast Affiliate Board of Directors, and the chair of the Emergency Cardiovascular Care Business Management Committee, I care a great deal about the health, wellness and safety of my family, friends and neighbors. I feel grateful to live in a community where my fellow residents share my concern.
Nationwide, EMS teams treat nearly 383,000 victims of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) each year nationwide – 1,200 in central Mississippi alone. The first few minutes of response are critical and often the EMS teams cannot arrive in time, making ordinary citizens the lifeline a victim will be depending upon. Fewer than eight percent of OHCA victims survive. An OHCA victim’s chances of survival double or triple if a bystander is trained in CPR, but only one-in-four OHCA victims receive bystander CPR.
Too few people in our community are trained in CPR to respond in these emergency situations. The Mississippi State Board of Education has the opportunity to change that by adopting curriculum standards requiring CPR to be taught to high schools students. Our schools are natural gateways to teach an entire generation how to respond to OHCA. Schools are intended to prepare students to contribute to their communities and assisting in an OHCA with CPR is an essential contribution.
Schools prepare students with essential life skills, so it seems to me that a lesson on how to save a life makes perfect sense.
I support CPR in schools and I urge the Mississippi State Board of Education to make our community by requiring this curriculum standard.
David A. Bush
National Chair ECC Business Management Committee
Immediate Past Chair GSA Board of Directors
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