CPR campaign aims to get more Philadelphians trained to save a life



The Philadelphia Regional CPR Awareness Coalition hosted a half-day event Tuesday to promote CPR Ready, a campaign for “hands-only” CPR defibrillator use in the community.

Statistics show that bystanders in Philadelphia are half as likely to perform CPR on someone suffering a cardiac attack — a major killer in the city — compared with those nationwide (20.3 percent to 40.6 percent).

Benjamin Abella, director of the Center for Resuscitation Science at the University of Pennsylvania, discussed the importance of stepping forward to help.

“To survive cardiac arrest, it’s important to have bystander response. That is, people in the public need to respond and perform CPR,” he said. “Without public CPR, survival is much lower, and we in Philadelphia have a big problem with bystander CPR.”

Socioeconomic and educational disparities help explain passive bystanders, Abella said.

Without training, performing CPR can be daunting — and many factors limit the accessibility of training, he said. The traditional four-hour training sessions are difficult for people working full-time jobs, while location and facilities of training sites also affect physical accessibility.

To make training more accessible, Penn Medicine Tuesday launched a mobile CPR project, which brings free CPR training in English and Spanish to public spaces, including community centers, libraries, faith organizations, and schools.

Talking about the organization, Abella said, “We come to the trainees so that they don’t have to worry about transportation. We will offer the training for free. And through this, we hope by removing the barriers to address some of these glaring disparities in who knows and who does not know CPR.”

Tuesday’s presentation, held at WHYY, included stories from survivors of cardiac arrest. Abella said he hopes that increasing the opportunity for training will help more people survive and share their stories.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.