President’s Letter: Spread the Word About Hands-only CPR

This year for EMS Week, we’ve developed a BHAG—a Big Hairy Audacious Goal—to train 1 million people in North America with compression only CPR. To do this, we have teamed up with the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and American Medical Response (AMR).

The IAFC’s EMS Section is taking the lead for the fire service, and we’re asking fire departments to think of creative ways to teach CPR to their communities. Sidewalk CPR, taking Annie to the grocery store while crews are shopping, city hall presentations, in line at a movie theater—any place people gather, please spread the word about hands-only CPR.

This will be an outstanding opportunity for your fire and EMS chiefs to get some positive press for your agency. The news story nearly writes itself: Across North America, we have a significant problem with people being afraid to administer CPR. We also have a lot of cardiac arrests. And we know that compression-only CPR by members of the public can and does save lives.

If you have a community public-access defibrillation program, outstanding! Now’s the time to let people know about it as you teach them CPR.

If you’re a fire department that covers an airport, now’s a great time to hold some training in the concourses. People are bored waiting for flights; why not offer them some fun learning and show them how to save a life?

If you have PulsePoint in your community, now’s a great time to remind people about this smart-phone app as you teach them CPR. If you don’t have the app, I urge you to download it onto your smart phone and take a look.

The best thing we can do as chief officers is to do all we can to protect our firefighters. The second-best thing we can do is to protect our communities. Please join me in helping to protect our communities; take advantage of the opportunity to teach your community members CPR. The life you save by doing so could be your neighbor, your family member or even you yourself.

Fire Chief John Sinclair
President and Chairman of the Board 

EMS Week 2017 will be May 21–27; the 2017 theme is "EMS STRONG: Always in Service." Wednesday, May 24, is Emergency Medical Services for Children Day.

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