American Heart Association Trains Next Generation of Lifesavers with its CPR in Schools Program

AHA1As the nation’s oldest, largest voluntary organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular diseases and stroke, the American Heart Association (AHA) shares common values with the Parent Teacher Association to advocate for our children’s health and well-being. Preparing students with lifesaving skills during an emergency situation is instrumental to our effort.

Consider this: in the United States alone, 48 people each hour will sustain a cardiac arrest outside of the hospital. However, only 1 in 10 of these victims will survive.  Eighty percent of the time, cardiac arrests will occur in the home.  Lifesaving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) performed by a bystander can double or even triple a person’s chance of surviving a cardiac arrest.  Unfortunately, only 40% of cardiac arrest victims will receive bystander CPR.  The life you save by performing CPR is most likely to be your own family or friend!

AHA2That’s why the AHA has been working with communities and other organizations to prepare more students, their teachers and their families to save lives with CPR in Schools.  The CPR in Schools Training Kit™ empowers students to learn the core skills of CPR in under 30 minutes, and it contains everything needed to learn CPR, AED skills and choking relief in school classroom settings. The easy-to-use kit utilizes the AHA’s latest science guidelines and it is portable, allowing for easy storage. It was developed for educators, school nurses or even student leaders to train groups of 10 students at once in a school setting.

Lawmakers in 20 states are now requiring all students to be trained in psychomotor skill-based CPR before graduating from high school. That means approximately 1.2 million students (nearly 40% of the U.S. student population) will be trained in CPR each year! Our ongoing efforts to produce future generations of lifesavers will help increase the chance that a victim of cardiac arrest has the help he or she needs until paramedics arrive.

While we’ve made some great progress over the years, we need your help, as members of the Parent Teacher Association, to expand this program across the country! If CPR training is not currently required in your state, join us in supporting legislation at If you’d like to learn more about your current state requirements or the CPR in Schools Training Kit and educational program, visit

As the parents and teachers of the next generation of lifesavers, we thank you for being such an integral part of creating safer communities.  Together, we can increase survival from cardiac arrest.

John Meiners is Executive Vice President of Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC) Programs and International Strategies for the American Heart Association (AHA). In this key role, John leads AHA’s global effort to increase survival from cardiac arrest by working toward AHA’s global goal of reducing mortality from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 25% by 2025.

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