Nearly 1,000 Boone High School students learned hands-only CPR Friday to the beat of the BeeGee’s hit, “Stayin’ Alive” as part of Take Heart Orlando, which has trained 100,000 citizens to save a life.
And while many of the 9th through 12th graders had never heard of the BeeGees, they caught on fast to the tempo of 100 to 120 beats per minute as they practiced on 50 mannequins in the Boone High School gym.
The program was also offered Friday at Edgewater, Dr. Philips, Jones, and Lake Nona high schools to celebrate World Heat Day.
Cardiovascular disease causes 31 percent of all deaths worldwide and 80 percent of those deaths could be avoided or postponed, according to Dr. David Wood, cardiologist and president of the World Heart Federation.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer came up with the idea three years ago to train the community with the skills to recognize and treat sudden cardiac arrest. Take Heart Orlando’s hands-only CPR/AED training takes just 30 minutes.
The CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) training is part of Orlando’s quest to make it the safest city in America. The city also is asking graduates to sign up for the PulsePoint mobile app.
The free app immediately alerts CPR-trained bystanders about a nearby sudden cardiac arrest and lets them know the location of the closest publicly accessible AED. The app is activated by the Orlando Fire Deptartment (OFD) communications center, while emergency medical teams are dispatched.
OFD Retired District Chief Daniel Fleming told students that their first action is to call 911 before starting CPR. He added that after a heart attack, the person’s last breath carries oxygenated blood through the body for four to six minutes, allowing time for the arrival of OFD, which has an average response time of the same four to six minutes.
Kaitlyn Jemison, a senior in Boone’s Academy of Health Science program, coached students as they learned the technique. The 17-year-old said she wants to be a nurse to help people like her grandmother and aunt. During their senior year, the students spend four hours a week at Orlando Health practicing their skills.
OFD Chief Roderick Williams said it’s important to teach students the life-saving skills so they will be prepared if their parents or grandparents need help. Last year, the fire department taught the free CPR classes to 40,000 people through business and civic organizations.