MARYAM ANIS The public relies heavily on Emergency Medical Services during cardiac arrests, and typically does not know how to react other than calling 911. However, performing CPR immediately after a cardiac arrest could double or triple the victim’s chance of survival.
Alarmingly, despite the fact that 88% of cardiac arrests occur close to home, approximately 70% of Americans do not feel comfortable performing CPR and feel helpless during these critical moments, according to American Heart Association. Unfortunately, many incorrectly believe only people working in health professions or public services should become CPR certified. The Take10 CPR program tries to increase the public confidence during a cardiac arrest event through a variety of Take10 CPR events with the help of other organizations, including UT’s own Longhorn EMS.
Take10 CPR, managed by the Austin City’s Office of the Medical Director, aims to teach CPR to 500,000 people in Austin communities by the year 2022. Currently, 19,000 people have been trained by a little over 500 trainers since the start of the program in 2008. Annually, 600 people in the Austin area are affected by cardiac arrest and 13% leave the hospital, compared to the national average of 10%, thanks to the increased amount of CPR awareness around Austin. Survival rate increases with the help of bystanders and with as little as 10 minutes, people can learn compression-only CPR in a supportive environment through the Take10 CPR events.
Longhorn EMS, a UT student-run, volunteer medical response organization for certified Emergency Medical Technicians, has partnered with Take10 CPR to help run various Take10 CPR events around Austin. Longhorn EMS has even put on events for other UT students, including a Take10 CPR event that took place on November 19, 2014 in the Jester East lobby. Since the closest emergency response system to the UT campus is the Austin Travis County EMS, ambulances can take several minutes to arrive after a cardiac arrest event. With students more aware and willing to take action, a patient can have a much higher chance of survival.
According to the Medical Director Dr. Paul Hinchey, “You need to act, you can do no harm, and you can save a life.” With the opportunity of attending Take10 CPR events on campus, students at UT should take the initiative of learning CPR because ultimately “What starts here, changes the world.” Be on the lookout for any future Take10 CPR events around Austin!