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American Heart Association, Santa Barbara High School Kick Off CPR in Schools Training

An instructor demonstrates proper hands-only CPR technique at Santa Barbara High School. Click to view larger
An instructor demonstrates proper hands-only CPR technique at Santa Barbara High School. (American Heart Association photo)

Each year, more than three hundred thousand people have a sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital. Not even a third receives CPR from a bystander, and only ten percent survive. In an effort to curtail this dismal statistic, the American Heart Association has sponsored legislation and programs to bring CPR to schools.

So far, 27 states across the country (not including California) have passed laws requiring every high school student to be CPR trained before graduation.

Additionally, the board of directors for the Santa Barbara American Heart Association has a community impact goal to formalize hands-only CPR and AED training as a high school graduation requirement locally.

In Santa Barbara, two generous donors contributed funds to bring CPR to Santa Barbara High School. Additionally, the American Heart Association provided 40 teaching mannequins. 

The American Heart Association and Santa Barbara High School kicked off their first CPR in Schools training session Thursday, May 5, 2016.

Diana McNeill, a realtor with Santa Barbara Brokers, and Ian Struble, managing partner of Four Seasons Real Estate Solutions, are the kind donors.

They provided this joint statement: “Equipping these students with the tools and skills to save a life through this program is an amazing gift. No matter where they are, they can use this life-saving skill for the rest of their lives and educate others to do the same.”

In January 2015, Placentia Yorba Linda Unified School District became the first district in California to pass a curriculum change requiring hands-on CPR and AED training. In May 2015, the board of the San Francisco Unified School District unanimously approved CPR training to graduate.

Santa Barbara High School’s first CPR in Schools class.  The American Heart Association provided training to nearly 100 freshman students. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara High School’s first CPR in Schools class.  The American Heart Association provided training to nearly 100 freshman students. (American Heart Association photo)

CPR in Schools empowers the youth of California and helps us add more lifesavers to our community. Thankfully, when a CPR-trained bystander is near and can act quickly and effectively, survival rates for sudden cardiac arrests can double or even triple.

“As a health educator at Santa Barbara High School, I have always wanted to teach and certify my students in hands-on CPR, however, the cost has been an issue,” said Sunnie Robertson, a teacher at Santa Barbara High School. “With the generous underwriting of this program, my ninth grade students will be equipped to handle such an emergency in the future. Preparing students for life outside of the classroom is where education begins.”

Hands-only CPR, which is taught in the CPR in Schools classes, focuses on the first few minutes following a cardiac arrest, since the lungs and blood contain only enough oxygen to keep vital organs healthy for that amount of time.

While emergency responders are on their way to the scene, chest compressions using hands-only CPR will provide the ongoing blood flow needed to give the patient a much better chance of survival once responders arrive.

The CPR in Schools legislation authored by Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D- Pomona) seeks to include hands-only CPR instruction, along with Automated External Defibrillator (AED) awareness, in a class that is required for graduation.

The CPR instruction presented must meet the standards currently used by the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association, or another instructional program that is nationally-recognized, and be based on the most current national evidence-based emergency cardiovascular care guidelines.

For more information about Santa Barbara High School’s CPR training, contact Tamara White of the American Heart Association at 310.490.0650 or [email protected].

Tamara White is the director of communications and marketing at the local branch of the American Heart Association.


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