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Santa Barbara County Launching Pilot Program to Promote Business Training in ‘Hands Only’ CPR

Partner agencies are challenging local employers to commit to having 80 percent of their staffs undergo training

A partnership of local emergency medical services agencies will announce on Monday the launch of a pilot public health program to increase the survival rate of sudden cardiac arrest victims.

Santa Barbara County Emergency Medical Services, the Santa Barbara City Fire Department and American Medical Response of Santa Barbara County are challenging businesses throughout downtown and the greater Santa Barbara area to participate by committing to have 80 percent of their staffs trained in “hands only” CPR at free training events scheduled through June.

The collaborating agencies welcome the business community and the public to attend Monday’s briefing at 11 a.m. at Paseo Nuevo Center Court in downtown Santa Barbara to learn more.

Santa Barbara County Supervisor Janet Wolf, Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, Dr. Angelo Salvucci, medical director of Santa Barbara County EMS, Nancy Lapolla, director of Santa Barbara County EMS, and Steve Cushman, president of the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce, will be present to introduce the program and its local impact. 

“We are looking to local businesses to help make Santa Barbara a model community for heart safety, and a safer place for all of us — for our residents and visitors, and in our workplaces and homes,” Salvucci said. “Encouraging their employees to take just a few minutes to be trained in this simple yet lifesaving tool will help prevent unnecessary deaths and improve the quality of life of survivors of sudden cardiac arrest.”

“Hands only” CPR — chest compressions without mouth-to-mouth breathing — has been proven to be as effective as standard CPR. The earlier CPR is started, the better, and bystanders are more likely to do hands only CPR.

Effective bystander CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can up to triple a victim’s chance of survival, but only a minority get CPR from a bystander. The overall goal of the Hands Helping Hearts campaign is to increase that percentage in Santa Barbara County.

Funding for outreach, special training manikins and other training materials is provided through an invitation-only grant from the Medtronic Foundation. Outreach and training will be coordinated through a co-leadership team from Santa Barbara City Fire Department and American Medical Response with grant management through Santa Barbara County EMS. The first “Business Community Partners” and the first businesses that have signed up for training will be announced Monday.

— Juliana Minsky is a publicist representing Santa Barbara County Emergency Medical Services.

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