Overcoming Obstacles to Bystander Initiated CPR through Approachable Public Education

The Problem: Bystander CPR is initiated in only 28.6% of cases of out of hospital cardiac arrest.

Despite this, victims only have a short window of time to survive this event. Victims depend

on the prompt delivery of CPR, defibrillation, and Advanced LifeSupport. Women and minorities receive bystander initiated CPR at much lower rates than males and white victims of cardiac arrest. Beyond this, bystanders, including ones that have received CPR training, fail to act in situations requiring CPR due to various fears – including that they may hurt the victim.

The Solution: Understanding and overcoming the obstacles to bystander initiated CPR through approachable public education.

Code One Training Solutions, LLC is an American Heart Association Training Center that has approached the barriers to bystander initiated CPR in a very unique way. They recruit CPR Superheroes and empower them with the knowledge and skills to save a life.

In may 2015, Code One created specialty “Superhero Response Vehicles” by purchasing and wrapping two retired ambulances in a custom comic book design for the purpose of public education. The two Superhero Response Vehicles travel to community events to provide hands-only CPR lessons to attendees. Many of the events which the Superhero Response Vehicles attend are selected due to their potential for high turnout of minority and underrepresented community members.

At CPR Superhero presentations, facilitators wear bright yellow capes and shirts. Young Children are Entertained and educated with a “hero hands” activity – by decorating with stickers and nail polish, hands can look like superheroes, and hands can become real heroes by calling 911 in an emergency. Older children and adults are given two-minute lessons on how to perform hands-only CPR on a manikin while the facilitators welcome conversation and questions. Everyone who visits the superhero response vehicle is told they are a CPR Superhero for learning about CPR and how to act in an emergency.

Lastly, Code One equips the Superhero Response Vehicles with an Automated External Defibrillator for events that they are attending. This feature combined with our trained rescuers provides enhanced cardiac arrest event readiness. In many cases, the SRV’s AED has been the only device present at the event.

Through the targeted delivery of fun and approachable hands-only CPR training, Code One overcomes the obstacles and fears many people face when approached with the decision to learn CPR skills. Populations that are often neglected when it comes to bystander initiated CPR are taught hands-only CPR in a direct effort to reduce the disparities between race, gender, and socioeconomic status. With trained rescuers and lifesaving equipment at events, Code One’s CPR Superheroes are prepared to respond and provide emergency care.

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