Emory EMS Produces Largest US CPR Training Event

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American Heart Association Currents

by Josh Rozell

Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, now holds the record for the largest single-venue CPR Anytime™ program in the United States, training more than 600 people in just three 1-hour sessions. Emory EMS, a student-run, volunteer organization providing intermediate life support to the Emory community and surrounding area, ran the event. They received help from the Emory Student Government Association (SGA), the Faculty Staff Assistance Program (FSAP), and the American Heart Association (AHA). 

At the beginning of the school year the Emory EMS command staff discussed opportunities for community involvement. I described one of my goals as “a campus-wide program in which the entire Emory community could benefit.” Jamie Bota, Chief of Planning and Development, envisioned a partnership with Emory Greek Life to train fraternity and sorority members in CPR. With help from SGA President Emily Allen and the insight of the rest of the Emory EMS command staff, the idea extended to the entire Emory community. Although we realized that this was a huge undertaking, we also considered it a great way to educate the community on how to act in an emergency before EMS arrives.

Making It Happen
Chief of Training Daniel Hootman created a task timeline to keep everything on track. The event facilitators stayed in constant communication. We realized the importance of enough planning time and a sufficient backup plan. Part of the success of the event can be credited to the teamwork and collaboration among the many organizations involved. The CPR event was marketed as a campus-wide initiative aimed to make Emory University one of the safest and most-prepared colleges for cardiac emergencies. 

Eddie Gammill of the FSAP helped get the word out to thousands of Emory employees. Flyers, banners, and email messages from Emory EMS and the SGA publicized the event. Funding came from the SGA, the Emory Police Department, the AHA, and the FSAP. All these groups recognized how important this training was and the implications it would have for the Emory community in education, initiative, unity, and readiness. 

Each of the 3 training sessions took place at the Woodruff Physical Education Center in the gymnasium. Two wide-screen projectors and screens bookended a presentation stage and tables, with a custom banner hanging above the stage. Leaders from Emory University Hospital and Emory University set the example by attending and taking part in the training each night. Dr Santa Ono, deputy to the Provost, and Dr Kate Heilpern, Emory Emergency Department Acting Chair, agreed that “it was just fantastic.” Other guests included Craig Watson, Chief of Police; Dr Earl Lewis, Emory University Provost; and Dr Eric Ossmann, Emory EMS medical director.

At each session, Emory EMS medics and volunteers greeted and directed participants to sign in and pick up a free CPR pocket mask and CPR Anytime kit, both provided by the AHA. Light refreshments accompanied the introduction and short Emory EMS video. This 15th-anniversary video highlighted the extent of services Emory EMS provides to the campus and community and offered insight into the training each medic receives. 

During the CPR Anytime video, Emory EMS medics, student volunteers, and Emory University physicians circulated throughout the crowd offering help and pointers to the participants as they performed CPR on their personal inflatable manikins. Those attending the last training session were thrilled to learn that their participation helped to make Emory a benchmark for CPR training around the United States. Participants from earlier sessions, the entire campus, and the nation learned of the accomplishment in Emory newspapers and on CNN.com/health. 

Using this event as a springboard, Emory EMS has already hosted 2 other smaller CPR training events at Emory for the Goizueta Business School and the Candler School of Theology. In addition, Emory EMS plans to continue to work closely with the AHA to train Emory EMS medics as AHA instructors so that they can offer full BLS certification courses to interested Emory affiliates. 

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