The FDNY and FDNY Foundation marked National CPR and AED Awareness Week this week. As a part of the national, weeklong event, the FDNY and Foundation participated in a special event in Times Square on Thurs., June 4.
The American Heart Association hosted the “Keep the Beat Challenge,” an event to raise awareness for bystander CPR and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED). As a part of the event, the AHA conducted a CPR relay from 7 AM – 7 PM in an attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records world record for most people in a CPR Relay.
Members of the FDNY – including members of the FDNY Mobile CPR Training Unit – participated in the event by joining the 12-hour Hands-Only CPR relay on stage. Also as a part of the event, the American Heart Association presented the FDNY with the “Heartsaver Award,” for its efforts to promote bystander CPR and to acknowledge the lifesaving work of the Department.
“We are so grateful to the American Heart Association for honoring the work that we do each and every day here in New York City,” said Commissioner Daniel Nigro. “And we are grateful to them for inviting us to participate in this important event. National CPR and AED Awareness Week is so important and we are happy to raise awareness for these life-saving skills in any way we can.”
“We are truly excited for the opportunity to work alongside FDNY and potentially train several thousand New Yorkers in Times Square during national CPR & AED Awareness Week. Having FDNY included in the event just makes sense,” said Robin Vitale, American Heart Association Senior Director, Government Relations. “As the Fire Department of New York celebrates its 150th anniversary, it’s certainly fitting that the American Heart Association applauds the work of our city’s greatest asset in the fight against sudden cardiac arrest. FDNY is certainly deserving of this 2015 American Heartsaver Award recognition.”
In New York City, fewer than ten percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims survive; however, effective bystander CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or triple a victim’s chance of surviving, but less than one third of all cardiac arrest victims receive bystander CPR. Additionally, in situations where defibrillation is provided within 5 to 7 minutes after sudden cardiac arrest, the survival rate is as high as 49 percent.
Some 70 percent of Americans say they feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency because they don’t know how to administer CPR or they are fearful of hurting the victim. National CPR and AED Awareness Week spotlights how lives can be saved when more Americans know CPR and how to use an AED.
“Every person who learns how to perform Compressions-Only CPR and how to use an AED has the skills they need to save a life,” said Chief James Booth, FDNY Chief of EMS. “We are so proud to participate in an event like the ‘Keep the Beat Challenge,’ to raise awareness of the importance of CPR and the AED, and also, to train New Yorkers in these life-saving skills.”
“The BE 911 Compressions-Only CPR Program has given more than 100,000 New Yorkers training in how to perform CPR and how to use an AED,” said FDNY Captain Cesar Escobar. “We are grateful for events like this one, which help shine a spotlight on how important these skills are, and we are grateful to the FDNY Foundation for helping to fund a program that lets us do this important work year-round.”
The FDNY Foundation, along with NYC Service, funds the FDNY Mobile CPR Training Unit. In addition, the Foundation funds the FDNY’s Fire Safety Education Unit. Both educational groups work to inform New Yorkers on ways to keep themselves safe in case of emergency. “Keep the Beat Challenge” attendees received educational materials from both groups at the event Saturday.
“We are so proud to fund the FDNY Mobile CPR Training Unit and the Be 911 Compressions-Only CPR Program,” said FDNY Foundation Board Chairman Stephen Ruzow. “The goal of this program is to train as many people as possible in basic CPR skills and to educate participants on how to use an AED. We know this program can save lives and that is the most important part of our mission.”
“Donations from our supporters allow us to keep funding these critical FDNY programs,” said FDNY Foundation Executive Director Jean O’Shea. “We remain grateful every day for the opportunity to fund programs that we know help save lives.”
To learn more about the Be 911 Compressions Only CPR Program, click here.
"We are truly excited for the opportunity to work alongside FDNY and potentially train several thousand New Yorkers in Times Square during national CPR & AED Awareness Week. Having FDNY included in the event just makes sense. As the Fire Department of New York celebrates its 150th anniversary, it's certainly fitting that the American Heart Association applauds the work of our city's greatest asset in the fight against sudden cardiac arrest. FDNY is certainly deserving of this 2015 American Heartsaver Award recognition."