More than 100 students at Venice High School are among nearly 2,000 ninth graders at nine Los Angeles area schools who have learned to perform bystander Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) through a partnership between the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).

When factoring in the “multiplier effect” through which the trainees in turn train other family members and those family members train their friends and loved ones, the pilot program has been responsible to date for training 12,976 people in life-saving bystander CPR, according to the American Heart Association. This number is expected to increase ahead of the program’s completion next month and is far greater than the program’s original goal of 8,000 total trainees, according to the association.

Through the program, 106 Venice High School students learned bystander CPR and passed on the skills to 1,534 people in the community.

“CPR is the most important immediate action a person can take in response to sudden cardiac arrest, and this program has far exceeded even our own ambitious expectations in terms of equipping people to save lives,” said Dr. Franklin Pratt, medical director of the Los Angeles County Fire Department and a member of the American Heart Association’s Los Angeles County Board of Directors.

“In my work I’m inspired every day by stories of bystanders — every-day heroes — who step in and save lives by administering CPR. The AHA’s CPR Anytime kits allow virtually anyone to get trained and do the right thing for a family member, friend, neighbor, or even a stranger.”

Pratt added, “As a graduate of Venice High School, one of the participating schools, I am especially proud of what these students, their teachers and their medical staff have accomplished. This program is a model for the future.”

Through the program, school nurses, teachers and students each receive a CPR Anytime kit, which contains a personal, inflatable CPR mannequin (“Mini Anne”), an American Heart Association CPR for Family and Friends instruction booklet, a 22-minute CPR Anytime Skills Practice DVD and accessories for the program.

The program has run through the full school year.

The American Heart Association provides the initial training for the school nurses, who in turn train the teachers, who then administer the training for their students. It takes only 22 minutes to learn CPR using this system, and it can be done in the classroom or any space where a DVD player and television monitor are available.

Students are then given their own CPR Anytime kit to take home and use with their families and friends. A requirement of this program was that each student trains at least three additional family members or friends.

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