The numbers are grim: Every three days, a young athlete suffers from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), and every year, 7,000 children under 18 are affected by SCA and 350,000 adults die from SCA. But learning how to save a life is informative and can be fun.

CPR instruction CHOP offered hands-only CPR training on the Broad Street sidewalk. Two groups from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia used a community-wide event at the South Philadelphia Community Health and Literacy Center to educate people, young and old, on how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use automated external defibrillators (AEDs). Those interventions can help keep those undergoing sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) alive until Emergency Medical Services (EMS) arrives.

Youth Heart Watch, a CHOP program that aims to prevent sudden cardiac death among children and adolescents by promoting access to AEDs in schools, recreation centers and other public places, set up fun activities in the South Philadelphia Branch of the Free Library. Kids collected hints about CPR and AEDs and gathered in a project room to learn more.

To make it fun and improve retention of the “chain of survival,” participants joined in a scavenger hunt to learn the steps:

  1. Recognize that someone is suffering a SCA
  2. Call 911
  3. Do CPR until EMS arrives
  4. Use an AED when available

CPR instruction Youth Heart Watch taught CPR and AED use to kids in South Philadelphia. “We taught children of all ages as they came through the library,” says Zane Schultz, Youth Heart Watch program coordinator. “First they learned what sudden cardiac arrest is and why using an AED is so important. Then we had skills training on how to do CPR and on correct use of an AED.”

The kids — more than 30 completed the training — got a kick out of practicing CPR on training manikins. Attendees also learned where the AEDs are located in the building, in case they ever need to help someone at the library, the CHOP Care Network South Philadelphia primary care practice, the City of Philadelphia Health Center II or the DiSilvestro Recreation Center, which are all located on the site, built by CHOP in partnership with the city.

CPR training on the sidewalk

Right on the Broad Street sidewalk in front of the Health and Literacy Center, John A. Erbayri, MS, NRP, CHSE, Program Manager of CHOP’s Emergency Care Programs, and eight volunteers were busy offering "bystander CPR" training to anyone who walked by.

The South Philadelphia location was one of five spots throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey where CHOP had set up training as part of its Annual Sidewalk CPR event in recognition of National CPR/AED Awareness week. More than 500 people were trained at the five sites.

“It’s always a fun day,” says Erbayri. “Most people don’t realize that they can save a life by doing chest compressions alone. In five minutes, we can show them what to do so if they’re ever in the situation where CPR is needed, they can step in with confidence and make a life-saving difference."

Saving a life

There are 350,000 adult deaths due to sudden cardiac arrest in the United States each year. Knowing CPR and how to use an AED can save lives.

Bystander Intervention Rate

  • 32% - Bystander CPR
  • 2% - Bystander AED used

Survivor Rate

  • 9% - Survival with bystander CPR, but no AED used before EMS arrival
  • 38% - Survival with bystander CPR, application of AED and shock delivered before EMS arrival

Sources: American Medical Association; Journal of the American College of Cardiology

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