CPR and AED Training in Schools: “Is anyone learning how to save life?”

1.  What is this study?

This study aims to evaluate the levels of training in Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and automatic external defibrillators (AED) provided to both students and staff in Toronto secondary schools. Secondarily, the study aims to establish the barriers to training for schools that currently do not train in CPR and/or AED use, establish the training methods used to train students and staff for schools who do train in CPR and/or AED use and finally to assess the rate of AED registration with the Toronto EMS 911 emergency dispatch.

2.  Why bother doing this study?

The survival rate from out of hospital cardiac arrest in Toronto is one of the lowest in North America. Survival is directly linked to a 10-fold increase when a bystander does CPR and applies an AED. Education and training in CPR and AED use in the general public is an important element to increasing the out of hospital cardiac arrest survival rate in Toronto. Delivering CPR and AED training in secondary schools is the best approach to educating the largest percentage of the population. CPR education is a part of the grade nine physical education curriculum set by the Ontario Ministry of Education. However, not all schools offer CPR and/or AED training to their students and within schools that do provide CPR and/or AED training there is variability in education methods and recurrence of training.

3.  Who is involved?

All 270 secondary schools in Toronto will be asked to participate in the study. We currently have support the Toronto District School Board, the Toronto Catholic District School Board and are working with the independent schools on an individual basis.

4.  How will the study be conducted?

The study consists of a short survey conducted over the phone with key school individuals that covers all aspects of CPR and AED training at the school.

5.  What do we hope to accomplish?

Using the Epistry database here at Rescu we will have the ability to compare our findings on training levels with other variables in the Epistry database such as survival rate, bystander CPR rate, as well as socio-economic status, to name a few… We also want to confirm that every AED that is in a Toronto secondary school is registered with the Toronto EMS emergency dispatch and for schools whose AED is not registered we will be offering registration as a free public service. Establishing barriers to training in CPR and AED use will possibly provide insight into what schools need to provide training to all their staff and students and an understanding of what training methods are being implemented will allow for an analysis of the efficiency of the training programs in place. We hope to show the importance of CPR/AED education in secondary schools and its impact on the public survival rates and, in the future, encourage widespread, consistent provision of this training in all secondary schools.