With CPR and AED Awareness Week (June 1-7) just around the corner, the American Heart Association would like to congratulate the Utah Legislature and Gov. 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 lifesaving technique before they graduate from high school.
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 make a significant impact upon them and the individuals they might save.
As was shared by Representative Carol Spackman-Moss and Senator Brian Shiozawa during Heart on the Hill day at the Capitol on February 7th, "nearly 80 percent of heart attacks occur outside of a health care setting." Because of this, survival rates hover around an abysmal 7 percent. In light of the terrific success that the Salt Lake City Fire Department has had in increasing bystander CPR (and survival rates), the restoration of these funds will go a long way to training a new generation of lifesavers that will be equipped with the knowledge to intervene if the situation arises.