Today marks the beginning of National CPR & AED Awareness Week and the CPR in Schools program celebrated more than 250 Wisconsin schools trained to teach hands-only CPR. CPR in Schools is a program that trains teachers and equips Wisconsin schools with materials to train middle and high school students in hands-only CPR, which can save the lives of cardiac arrest victims.

CPR in Schools began in 2016 to ensure Wisconsin schools offer ongoing, high-quality CPR training for its students. When a cardiac arrest victim collapses, their chance of survival diminishes 10% with each minute until CPR starts. However, if a bystander begins CPR before first responders arrive, a victim’s chance of survival can double or even triple.

“Cardiac arrests often happen at home, and CPR in Schools is creating a new generation of students who can save the life of their relatives and community members,” said Dr. E. Brooke Lerner of the Medical College of Wisconsin. “We are proud to lead this training program, which empowers students and teachers to be lifesavers in their communities.”

CPR in Schools is supported by a grant from Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment at the Medical College of Wisconsin. This program is also led by Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) #7, which organizes school training sessions, and the Wisconsin EMS Association (WEMSA), which teaches these trainings throughout Wisconsin. The American Heart Association created the CPR in Schools kits which are provided to schools, and many other stakeholders are partners in this program. For a full list of partner organizations, visit here.

“Educating teachers so they can bring this life-saving skill back to their students is incredibly rewarding,” said Jeff Dickert, CESA #7 Administrator. “We also connect schools with local community health partners, like fire departments and EMS providers, so they can continue to build strong CPR training programs together for years to come.”

“Local first responders are a key component in the success of CPR in Schools,” said Marc Cohen, WEMSA’s Executive Director. “Local EMS providers have a wealth of knowledge on saving lives and by teaching CPR in Schools to local school leaders, they are empowering teachers and students to become lifesavers themselves.”

CPR in Schools extended these trainings through the end of 2018. Schools that would like to be trained should reach out to cprinwischools@gmail.com. For more information on this program, visit here.

National CPR & AED Awareness Week is June 1-7 and shines a spotlight on how important CPR and automated external defibrillators can be in saving lives. The American Heart Association is raising awareness of hands-only CPR and, nationally since 2009, has trained more than 10 million people in the simple, lifesaving skill.  To learn more, visit www.heart.org/cprweek.