Submitted by SCAFoundation on Tue, 06/28/2016 - 12:00am

Miami Dade County becomes first school district in Florida to pass CPR in schools as a policy.

MIAMI, FL--As part of a newly strengthened wellness policy, the School Board of Miami-Dade County voted to incorporate Hands-Only CardioPulmonary Resuscitation CPR training for all students who take Personal Fitness as part of their graduation requirements. This will create new generations of lifesavers by preparing them to respond to sudden cardiac arrest, whose victims usually die before Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) arrive because CPR was not administered. The American Heart Association (AHA) has been encouraging schools districts, such as Miami-Dade, to adopt CPR as part of their current policies making instruction stronger and more sustainable. Miami-Dade County embraced the opportunity and has provided leadership for others to follow.

Miami Dade County is home of the largest school district in the state of Florida, and is now the first county in the state to require students to learn Hands-Only CPR through a required course before they graduate high school. There are 34 states in the country that require CPR in Schools, but Florida is not one of them. The AHA hopes this landmark decision will inspire other counties to follow suit and create policies of their own.

In just one hour of students’ four-year high school career, this policy will provide the skills they need to help save lives – the lives of families, neighbors and friends. Students can learn these life-saving skills in the time it takes to watch one TV show. M-DCPS trains their senior high school physical education teachers as CPR instructors.

“The American Heart Association’s goal is to teach lifesaving CPR skills to as many teens and young adults as possible in South Florida to help keep our communities safer, year after year,” said Dr. Tiffany Sizemore-Ruiz, D.O., F.A.C.C., Diplomate in Cardiology, Internal Medicine, Echocardiography and Nuclear Cardiology and President of the Board of Directors for the American Heart and Stroke Association of South Florida. “Creating a new generation of lifesavers will benefit everyone, and CPR in Schools will be the key to a change that will have invaluable impact on lives saved. It is our hope that this legislation will set the example for the rest of the school districts in the state.”

The American Heart Association has provided 83 American Heart Association CPR in Schools Kits™ to Miami Dade County schools which provides all materials and equipment needed to effectively teach Hands-Only CPR.

More than 420,000 people have sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital every year, and sadly nine out of 10 will die, most likely because they don’t receive timely CPR. Given right away, CPR doubles or triples survival rates. Teaching students CPR could save thousands of lives by filling our communities with young adults trained to give cardiac arrest victims the immediate help they need to survive until EMTs arrive.

Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when electrical impulses in the heart become rapid or chaotic, which causes the heart to suddenly stop beating. It is most often caused by coronary heart disease, but it can also be caused by trauma, an overdose, or drowning. Within a few, sudden seconds, the victim’s heart stops beating; blood stops circulating; oxygen stops flowing to the brain; and the victim stops breathing. Five minutes can mean the difference between life and death. If no CPR is provided or no defibrillation occurs within three to five minutes of collapse, the chances of survival drop.

Eighty percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen in private or residential settings. Statistically speaking, if called on to give CPR in an emergency, it will likely be to save the life of a loved one: a child, a spouse, a parent or a friend. The CPR in Schools Training Kits will train an estimated 20,000 students annually.

Community CPR education and training is one of the main tactics identified by the American Heart Association as it aims to reach its 2020 Impact Goal: By 2020, to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent, while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent.

SOURCE: American Heart Association