BHUSD Staff Ready to Teach, Save a Life

Teachers, administrators and staff members were trained in CPR last Friday, just in time for the start of the new school year Monday.

Beverly Hills Unified School District staff members return to work Monday ready to educate, inform and perform CPR—if necessary.

About 365 teachers, staff and administrators underwent semi-annual training Friday from Beverly Hills CPR, an organization established in 1977 to certify residents and city employees in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The teacher training is funded with a $50,000 grant from the city of Beverly Hills.

“This makes us confident both in emergency procedures and performing CPR,” said Steve Kessler, principal of Horace Mann School. “You never know when you will need it,” he added, noting that he has performed CPR once at his school.

It is crucial that BHUSD staff and administrators know CPR because time is vital when someone goes into cardiac arrest. The average response time for the Beverly Hills Fire Department is three minutes, while the average response from the Los Angeles Fire Department is seven to eight minutes, said Tom Stafford, a Los Angeles Police Department paramedic who works with BHCPR. Stafford led the staff training Friday.

“Your number one priority is to know where the artificial external defibrillator [AED] is at your school,” Stafford told the dozens of staff members assembled in the cafeteria.

Staff members were taught how to use an AED, a computerized medical device that can check a heart’s rhythm and determine if and when a shock is needed. All BHUSD schools have at least one AED and BHHS has multiple AEDs.

“Every minute that someone is in cardiac arrest and CPR is not administered, the chance of that person recovering decreases by 10 percent,” Stafford told Patch, citing statistics from the American Heart Association. Less than 8 percent of people who suffer out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest survive.

BHUSD staff members took online training before Friday’s session. Between the online course and in-person training, teachers said they were confident they could perform CPR in case of an emergency.

“I feel ready to use CPR if needed,” Horace Mann third-grade teacher Afi Delijani told Patch.

The BHCPR program also runs training sessions for BHHS students.

“We aim to train 25 percent of the student body each year,” said former Beverly Hills Mayor Les Bronte, who heads the program. 

BHCPR faced termination a few years ago when the city made police and fire department cuts to reduce a projected budget shortfall in 2009-10. Bronte and the Friends of Beverly Hills CPR volunteer board stepped in to raise money for the organization. Now BHCPR is funded by a combination of donations and grants, with the largest source of funding being the $50,000 grant from the city.

Since its inception, BHCPR has trained thousands of residents, city and BHUSD employees.

“Our goal is to hit 90,000 people trained within the next 12 months,” Bronte said.

Have you been trained by Beverly Hills CPR? How did it go? Tell us in the comments section below.

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