2017 Heart Ball: teaching kids hands-only CPR likely to have big impact

Kids learning hands-only CPR may be the answer to reducing death from cardiac arrests that occur outside of a hospital each year. There are approximately 5,000 sudden cardiac arrests in Arizona each year, and over 325,000 sudden cardiac arrests nationwide.

Dr. Michael and Michelle Caskey

Sadly, most of those victims die, often because bystanders don’t know how to start CPR, or are afraid they’ll do something wrong. This alarming statistic should hit close to home, because home is exactly where 70 percent of cardiac arrests occur. Put very simply: the life you save with CPR is mostly likely to be someone you love.

The American Heart Association is training students, teachers and parents in CPR via its CPR in Schools initiative to help teach lifesaving skills to millions at a young age. In focus groups, researchers learned that people believe that teaching children about lifesaving CPR and then having them share this knowledge with their families and friends is a key way to spreading the message.

CPR in schools is an integral part of the solution and will help increase bystander CPR across all communities and save more lives. Arizona was proud to join the ranks of states that determined that their students should leave high school knowing how to do CPR.

On May 12, 2016, Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law Senate Bill 1137, which requires all Arizona public and charter high schools to provide one or more sessions of hands-only CPR each year to their pupils. This is a huge lifesaving win for the state of Arizona and will empower Arizona students with the tools and confidence to start CPR in an emergency.

In 2016, the Phoenix Heart Ball worked with the American Heart Association to pass SB 1337. The 2017 Phoenix Heart Ball’s goal is to raise the funds needed to support CPR in schools in Arizona.
Hands-Only CPR has 2 steps:

  • Call 9-1-1;
  • Push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of “Stayin’ Alive”; and
  • Keep doing compressions until help arrives.

About the authors and 2017 Heart Ball

Dr. Michael Caskey is a cardiothoracic surgeon who has been practicing medicine in the Phoenix area for 27 years. He and his family reside in the Town of Paradise Valley.

Michelle Caskey is a nurse and a member of the 2017 Phoenix Heart Ball Committee. Founded in 1959, the Phoenix Heart Ball supports the mission of the American Heart Association.

Over the past 58 years, the Phoenix Heart Ball has raised nearly $33 million.

This year’s Phoenix Heart Ball will be held Saturday, November 18th. For more information or to purchase tickets please logon to www.phoenixheartball.heart.org.

For more information on heart health log onto www.heart.org.

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