Guest Bloggers: Utah Division Board President Lilian Khor and Board Chair Bob Cash
With CPR and AED Awareness Week (June 1-7) recently passed, the American Heart Association would like to congratulate the Utah Legislature and Governor Gary Herbert for their efforts to save Utahns from the devastating effects of cardiovascular disease. This year the state legislature restored funding to the CPR Training Program in high schools. This funding will give teachers the resources they need to ensure our children are trained in this life saving technique before they graduate from high school. All Utah high school students will have access to CPR training as part of their curriculum for Health.
The funding will also go towards training students in the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED). In recent years, the Legislature has appropriated funds to help schools and districts place AEDs in their buildings. The response to these funds has been tremendous and the placement of these devices and the potential for saving lives is substantial.
Equipping our children with the knowledge of how to perform CPR and use an AED will train a new generation of lifesavers that will be equipped with the knowledge to intervene if the situation arises and make a significant impact in their community.
Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming over 360,000 lives each year. While 80 percent of sudden cardiac arrests occur outside of a care facility, effective bystander CPR can double or even triple the chance of survival for a sudden cardiac arrest victim. Immediate CPR from someone nearby often means the difference between life and death. Currently, less than one-third of victims receive CPR.
During this past legislative session, both the House and Senate had an opportunity to honor individuals across Utah who used CPR to save the life of someone in the community.
Many of these individuals learned CPR in their teenage years and were able to recall that knowledge when an emergency arose. The Legislature honored individuals like Ryan Fowles, a student at SUU who helped save the life of Professor Joe Baker when he suffered a heart attack; and Scott Hunt, an employee at VLCM who helped save the life of fellow employee Kent Carothers when he suffered a heart attack in their office warehouse. These “heroes”, and many others across Utah, were honored for their life saving work as “Heart Savers” in our community.
The American Heart Association is working diligently to reach a bold 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.” The Utah Legislature’s support will undoubtedly help decrease the mortality rate for sudden cardiac arrest victims and is a critical step towards meeting this goal. We express our sincere gratitude to the Legislature for their efforts to save lives.