February is American Heart Month, and the American Heart Association is challenging every household or family to have at least one person who knows CPR or Hands-Only CPR. The Association’s national Be the Beat CPR Challenge emphasizes the importance of public policies at the federal, state and community levels that increase the likelihood that a person suffering from cardiac arrest will receive CPR and have access to an automated external defibrillator (AED).
The Association is working in states and communities to advance policies that enhance the chance of survival after someone experiences cardiac arrest. This includes policies that ensure all students graduating from high school have been trained in CPR. Forty states, DC and numerous communities currently require schools to train students in CPR before high school graduation, putting thousands of Heartsavers® into homes and communities. The Association is advocating nationwide for funding to help ensure schools have the CPR training resources they need.
Additionally, the Association advocates for telecommunicator CPR (T-CPR) policies that ensure when someone calls 911, the person on the other end of the line is prepared to recognize a cardiac event and coach the caller through the process of performing CPR while dispatching medical response. Currently, less than half of states have passed T-CPR policies, and the Association is working to expand that number with active T-CPR campaigns in 16 states and communities.
“When a person experiences cardiac arrest, having community members trained in CPR and AEDs available in schools and other public spaces can increase a person’s chance of survival,” said Nancy Brown, CEO, American Heart Association. “CPR in Schools and telecommunicator CPR policies, in conjunction with education and training of people in communities across the country, are critical to ensuring that when someone is faced with an emergency situation, they have the tools needed to help save the life of a family member, friend or neighbor.”
At the federal level, the Association advocates for a nationwide expansion of the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES). Funding for CARES, which was authorized as part of the CAROL Act and appropriated in December 2022, will help build upon existing efforts to help communities measure the effectiveness of their sudden arrest response systems and improve interventions to save more lives.
Find more resources, including the Heartsaver® virtual training course, at cpr.heart.org.