A first of its kind program targeted at high school students will aim to prepare teens to save lives throughout New York City.
The FDNY Foundation joined the FDNY and NYC Service to announce the “Be 911: Teens Take Heart” program at the FDNY High School in Brooklyn on Tues., Dec. 8. The program offers high schools and high school students the opportunity to answer the call of service and to help save lives. Through the program, members of the FDNY will train high school students in all five boroughs to perform compressions-only CPR – or Bystander CPR – and will educate students on cardiovascular health.
“Performing CPR on a patient in cardiac arrest – before Paramedics, EMTs and Firefighters arrive to help – is a critical step in the chain of survival,” said First Deputy Fire Commissioner Robert Turner. “The care received in those first moments of a cardiac incident is even more important than the care they will receive later at the hospital.”
“This is a skill that can change someone’s life,” said Chief Roger Ahee, FDNY Bureau of EMS Training. “You’ll be better equipped to lend help to a family member, your friends, neighbors, and any citizen or visitor to our wonderful city. There is no better favor than giving someone life because you performed effective CPR.”
The program is being funded by the FDNY Foundation and NYC Service, in coordination with FDNY Mobile CPR Unit and the New York City Department of Education. The goal of the program is to train 5,000 high school students citywide.
“It has been a great privilege for the Foundation to fund the critical Mobile CPR Unit as they give people across the city lessons in life-saving skills,” said FDNY Foundation Executive Director Jean O’Shea. “This is another step in arming our city’s residents with the knowledge they need to step in and save a life. We are so happy to partner with NYC Service and the FDNY to help the Department reach young people in this way.”
“Today is a special day. You’ll learn about healthy hearts, you’ll learn how to save lives. And isn’t that the most important gift you could ever have,” NYC Service Chief Service Officer Paula Gavin told students in attendance at the event. “I’m delighted to be a part of this program. It is good for you and it is good for your city.”
“We are very focused on getting all of our students ready for college and for careers, but we also have all sorts of other programs to enrich your lives and your communities. This is one of those programs,” said John Shea, NYC DOE Division of School Facilities Chief Executive. “What better way to give back to your community and to enrich yourselves and your families by participating in this program.”
This program is the first to target high school students. The FDNY Mobile CPR Unit conducted a CPR lesson for FDNY High School students at the program launch event Tuesday. Students said they were eager to participate in the life-saving lesson.
“Anyone could come across a situation where they need to perform CPR and if they know how, they could help save a life,” said FDNY High School senior Jahlesha Bishop. “A lot of people don’t get these opportunities. I’m happy I’m here and I get to experience all of this. Maybe I have a career waiting for me. I’m just honestly so grateful.”
“You could save a life with these skills,” said India Glover, a senior at the FDNY High School. “And this program is preparing us to become leaders in our community. It’s giving us confidence and self esteem and maybe you will be able to say some day, ‘I saved a life.'”
The FDNY responded to nearly 22,000 cardiac arrest incidents in 2013. The FDNY Foundation and NYC Service-funded FDNY Mobile CPR Training Unit last year held more than 850 CPR classes citywide, training more than 13,000 New Yorkers; some ten percent of those participants were high school students.
“Through this life-saving educational program we’re launching today, we hope to not only empower so many more young New Yorkers like them with life-saving skills,” said Commissioner Turner, “we hope to show them all how rewarding a lifetime of service and helping others can be.”
To sign up for the free Be 911: Teens Take Heart program, click here.
"Anyone could come across a situation where they need to perform CPR and if they know how, they could help save a life. A lot of people don't get these opportunities. I'm happy I'm here and I get to experience all of this. Maybe I have a career waiting for me. I'm just honestly so grateful."