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Better preparing our community


Editor's note: The American Heart Association wants states to require high school students to learn how to give CPR and use an automated external defibrillator before they graduate. Editorial Advisort Art Hsieh says not only is this a good idea, but "if we are to make any major progress in helping victims survive sudden cardiac arrest, we need to prepare our community as integral partners in the response."

As you can imagine, I literally rejoice at such an article, and an emphasis to train kids in CPR and AED use prior to graduation will go a very long way in strengthening the first link in the chain of survival.

I've said this before: If we are to make any major progress in helping victims survive sudden cardiac arrest, we need to prepare our community as integral partners in the response.

As the science becomes more clear as to what constitutes real-life interventions, it's becoming simpler for lay persons to learn, and more importantly, retain the information to provide immediate assistance.

The real trick will be to develop curriculum that integrates well with an already clogged health education agenda, and doesn't burden teachers and EMS providers alike to teach the concepts.

Having training equipment available to learn with that provides concrete feedback to improve real time performance is a consideration. Convincing school officials that the need for this training is urgent is another one.

Implicit in the article is whether certification and the cost associated with it is necessary; it will be interesting to see what evolves in terms of layperson CPR over the next five years.

Places like King County Washington can point to the pervasiveness of CPR-trained citizens as part of their high resuscitation rate, and they have had CPR training in the public schools for quite some time.

It makes sense, and there's no time like the present to strive for better outcomes — especially when it can be this cost effective.

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