Tommy Watson of Williston started a hands-only CPR training project for his eighth grade class two years ago with the goal of training 100 individuals. He has since trained over 1,000 people and plans to train thousands more before he graduates.
What greater role model could there be for Vermont students studying hands-only CPR in health education classes than the 15-year-old student who contributed to the passage of the law requiring CPR training for students?
Tommy recently gave his opinions to the Huffington Post. Below is an excerpt.
"No matter whether I’m training the governor of Vermont, a Japanese exchange student who hardly speaks English, or a room full of Girl Scouts, I always say the same thing: Learning CPR is easier than you think."
About two minutes pass. There are only two steps in total.
If you observe someone stumbling:
Call 9-1-1. Then, while preferably listening to the song "Stayin' Alive," push firmly and quickly on the middle of the chest until assistance arrives.
When he tells adults that it only takes 2 minutes, some laugh and some are confused. They continue to believe that CPR training is a six-hour process that is so difficult that they will likely forget it in a year. They become fascinated when he goes into detail about hands-only CPR.
The Hands-Only CPR approach does exactly what it says on the tin.
You no longer need to breathe through your mouth. Adults' blood contains enough oxygen to continue circulating for roughly 10 minutes after the heart stops, according to research. Therefore, if someone pushes firmly and quickly, they can keep the patient's heart beating until the medical staff arrives. Of course, having a nearby person available to provide those chest compressions is essential.
It doesn't occur frequently enough. Only 11 percent of those who experience sudden cardiac arrest survive. That implies that the likelihood of dying is roughly 89 percent.
Additionally, it explains why it is crucial to train additional rescuers in CPR.
Boy Scouts made up his first student group. It was immediately apparent to everyone, which gave Tommy satisfaction.
"Wow, I liked it," he exclaimed.
He grew quite passionate about this, and everything started to fall into place. He made his way from scouts to churches and schools to corporations and significant trade shows.
On the day he signed the statute requiring CPR in schools, Tommy trained Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin. One of his favorite training sessions took place at the Heart Walk last fall, where he worked with a Japanese exchange student. It was demonstrated how simple it is by training a person who didn't speak English!
Hundreds of thousands of people could be trained that way each year. We'll have an entire generation of workers who know how to save a life when they enter the workforce.
"I sincerely hope that occurs. I also hope that one day life will be saved by someone I've coached. It would demonstrate that what I'm teaching is effective and that someone retained the skills and used them, which would be even more fulfilling than doing it myself."
After all, there are just two steps. And learning them only takes two minutes.
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