ECCU CPR Saves Lives March raises awareness of bystander CPR and AED use

Sudden cardiac arrest survivors, families and advocates took to the streets of San Diego to call for more training and AEDs


By Carissa Caramanis O’Brien

SAN DIEGO — Streets were closed and traffic came to a halt, as cardiac arrest survivors and their families led a crowd of advocates through the streets of San Diego during the Emergency Cardiovascular Care Update (ECCU 2015) conference, hosted by the Citizen CPR Foundation

The march was a powerful event, as so many people flooded the streets with signs and banners to support the cause. Marchers chanted, "CPR…Saves Lives!" with the goal of raising awareness for CPR and AED use, and the impact it can have in saving lives.

This, the first ever CPR Saves Lives March, was designed by ECCU’s program committee to bring attention to the hundreds of thousands of people who could survive with more CPR, more AEDs and better care.

The march, led by sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) survivor Robert Hoadley, proceeded on a one-mile course that ended at the Civic Center. There, the crowd and community gathered to hear inspirational stories from survivors, who recounted their rescues and the lives they have led since. City officials and the Citizen CPR Foundation raised a public call for more CPR training, more AED placements and more education so others can live.

As part of the event, high school students learned hands-only CPR with an introduction to AEDs. Several organizations also set up tables outside the Civic Center to provide information and resources to attendees.

Memorable Tweets during the CPR Saves Lives March
Social media helped to extend the CPR Saves Lives March message far broader than San Diego. Catch up on the march and ECCU by searching Twitter #ECCU2015.

Here are a few of the top tweets from the march.

Key takeaways from the first-ever CPR Saves Lives March
Marchers and speakers stressed these important points, which should be part of all citizen and bystander education about CPR.

1. Immediate initiation of the Chain of Survival is critical: Early call to 911, early CPR, early access to defibrillation, and quality post-resuscitation care.

2. We must get broader bystander participation in order to increase SCA survival rates.

3. Anyone willing and able to get training in CPR and AED use has the power to save lives.

So, would you consider creating a CPR Saves Lives March in your community? How about adding a CPR Saves Lives float to a planned parade, or a booth or table at a community fair or event?

You and your colleagues can replicate the great work done at ECCU to get the word out faster and broader in communities across the country. What part will you play?

More tweets from CPR Saves Lives March

About the author
Caramanis O’Brien is an EMT, problem solver and digital consultant to EMS. She advises many healthcare and EMS clients on the ideal use of digital marketing and social media to achieve their communications and community relations objectives. Find her on Twitter at @CarissaO

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