CPR Kiosks

A new study published on Tuesday tells of a remarkable health initiative: a kiosk-based program for learning hands-only Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

The study, sponsored by the American Heart Association and published in Annals of Emergency Medicine, found that people who learn hands-only CPR in a five-minute session at an airport kiosk performed the life-saving technique as well as those who attended a 30-minute, facilitator-led training session. (Both groups did better than those who learned CPR from a one-minute, public service announcement video.)

Each year, more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of a hospital. Almost 90 percent end in death; but experts say that survival rates can triple when bystanders perform CPR.

Unfortunately, the chances that a bystander with proper training will be on the scene at the critical moment are small.

“Less than half of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims receive CPR from a bystander, which is a grim statistic that we need to improve,” said John Meiners, the AHS’s Chief of Mission Aligned Businesses and Healthcare Solutions. “The study provides insights on hands-only CPR education methods that deepen our understanding of how people can continue to be trained more efficiently and effectively, so they’ll feel empowered and confident to take action.”

There are no statistics available yet on how many lives have already been saved by hands-only CPR learned at an airport kiosk, but there is no doubt of its life-saving potential.

“We have heard stories from people who have saved a person’s life after learning hands-only CPR at a kiosk, as well as stories from healthcare providers who use a kiosk to refresh their skills between flights at an airport,” said study co-author Lana M. Gent, AHS Director of Product and Research Innovation.

The kiosk program started in 2013, at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Since then, they were installed in 30 locations around the country.

Without any advertising campaign to help it along, the kiosk program began to catch on. In the past 3 years, more than 100,000 people have completed the training. The numbers speak for themselves about the eagerness of ordinary Americans to learn how to help others.

“Based on the findings from this study, we hope to have more kiosks placed in high-traffic locations,” such as airports and shopping malls.

At a time when the news brings almost daily reports of crimes of hate and random violence, it is also worthwhile to highlight the day-to-day acts of kindness and goodwill that exists.

The Jewish community in particular is replete with chessed of every kind. Most recently, Hatzolah was on hand in southern Israel to offer emergency aid to victims of the Gaza rockets; members of Zaka rushed to Pittsburgh to assist with the handling of the bodies.

In 2017, flooding in Houston caused by Hurricane Harvey was the focus of a nationwide disaster relief effort. Help came from a long list of Jewish communities, including Dallas, Baltimore, Los Angeles, New York, New Jersey, from Kansas and Colorado, from Skokie Yeshivah, Yeshiva University, and Rice University, from within Houston itself, and many more.

The response to such tragedies is magnificent and inspiring. But it doesn’t come from nowhere. It comes from the ongoing tradition of chessed maintained by thousands of gamachim and communal organizations and activists in Jewish communities in America, Israel and around the world.

But even the biggest baal chessed, the most generous gvir, can add to his or her maasim tovim by learning CPR, whether in a classroom or at a kiosk.

How many times do we find ourselves in airports with a wait before departure, especially during delays, and wonder what to do with the time?

Of course, it’s an opportunity for Torah study or tefillah. But now it’s also an opportunity for something else: a five-minute course in CPR that could save a life, save an entire world!

Obviously, America has its problems, and the problem of gun violence is heart-rending. But contemplating the tragedies should not lead to despair. There is much good out there, and more waiting to be done.