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I'd Do it in a Heartbeat

What would you do in a heartbeat? Travel? Shop?

How about save a life?

The American Heart Association is committed to saving countless heartbeats through CPR training in schools and communities. Teaching all of our students CPR could save hundreds of lives each year by filling the DC community with more lifesavers – young people trained to give cardiac arrest victims the immediate help they need to survive until EMTs arrive. Hands only CPR training can be taught in less than 30 minutes—that’s less time than it takes to watch the evening news!

On October 1, 2015 the DC Council Committees on Education and Judiciary held a hearing on legislation that would require every school in Washington, DC to have at least 1 AED on site, along with CPR/AED training for certain staff. Advocates representing AHA and other organizations rallied to testify that while it is an admirable goal to place AEDs in schools, without CPR training for all students, the bill’s intent may not be achieved. They recommended that CPR should be a requirement for high school graduation, as is the case in 27 states, including Maryland and Virginia. Teaching students CPR could be the difference between life and death.

Jennifer Griffin, a passionate advocate for CPR in schools, told the emotional story of her daughter’s tragic death. On June 8, 2012 Gwyneth Griffin went to school like any other day. But around 10 AM, Gwyneth collapsed on the outdoor track. Her friends and fellow students ran to get help, yet no bystanders knew what to do – nobody gave Gwyneth immediate CPR.

As a result, Gwyneth’s brain was dying due to lack of oxygen that CPR could have provided. She was transported to the hospital in a coma. Tragically, Gwyneth passed away on July 30, 2012.

Before the hearing Jennifer said, “had CPR or an AED been available faster, her life might have been saved.” She then called on the DC Council to act by amending bill B21-243 to include CPR as a high school graduation requirement in Washington, DC. By joining Maryland and Virginia, this will create 145,000 lifesavers across the national capital region.

So what would you do in a heartbeat? How about urging that at least 5,000 new lifesavers are trained in our nation’s capital each year by supporting CPR in schools?



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