KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Across Kansas City, Missouri, 2,000 more people know how to do CPR than at this time last year.
The Kansas City Fire Department is one year into a program placing an emphasis on teaching proper CPR techniques. A deputy fire chief said when bystanders jump into action before ambulances and EMTs arrive, it increases odds of surviving a heart attack.
Proof this increased training pays off is starting to show in numbers. For example, in May 2019, statistics from KCFD showed bystanders performed CPR on eight patients suffering from ventricular tachycardia cardiac arrest. Five of those patients lived.
"It is early right now, so it’s hard to know the trend. But what we saw gives us a glimmer of hope that we might be making an impact in the community," said KCFD Deputy Fire Chief Jimmy Walker.
KCFD offers CPR training for free to organizations within the city limits. There are three steps to its training:
- Check to see if the person is breathing and is responsive.
- Call, or have someone else call, 911.
- Kneel over the victim, keep elbows straight, interlock hands, push hard and fast on the patient's chest. Go about two inches deep, and pump to the beat of the Bee Gees' song "Stayin' Alive."
During training firefighters try to dispel any fears someone might have about doing more harm than good.
"We put it really bluntly," Walker said. "It can’t get any worse than what’s happened. That person, when they have suffered cardiac arrest, their heart is not pumping, they are not breathing, they are dead. When you put it in that perspective, there is nothing you are going to do that will make the situation worse."
Walker said research shows you can double a person’s chances of survival when you perform CPR immediately when they are having a heart attack.
To schedule training at a workplace, organization, or school call or email the fire department at 816-513-4670 or firstname.lastname@example.org.