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Press Releases / 2005 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 12, 2005

FIRE COMMISSIONER NICHOLAS SCOPPETTA JOINS THE AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION TO ANNOUNCE NEW FDNY CPR TRAINING UNIT

New unit established to help teach CPR to students and community members- introduces American Heart Association Family & Friends CPR Learning program to students attending the
FDNY High School for Fire and Life Safety in Brooklyn

Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today announced the creation of a new unit within the FDNY. The CPR (short for cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) Training Unit will help the fire department save more lives through public education. The unit, the first of its kind for the FDNY will be staffed with FDNY-EMS instructors and will offer free life-saving CPR training to schools and various community organizations beginning as early as May.

Recently we announced that the cardiac arrest survival rate in New York City has improved by almost 40% over the last 10 years. This is good, but we want to do better, said Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta. We need the public to get involved now to learn CPR, together we can save more lives. Studies have shown that your chances of surviving an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest increase tremendously if a trained bystander performs CPR immediately.

The creation of the unit is in response to the PHENYCS study, which found that over the last 10 years, despite a doubling of ambulance tours, a reduction in response times by 50% and implementation of the first-responder defibrillation program, overall cardiac survival rate in New York City is still only 3.1%.

Although this survival rate represents a 40% improvement from 1991 to 2003, the PHENYCS study concluded that improving cardiac survival rates requires greater public awareness of how to respond in a cardiac emergency. Basically, more people need to be trained to recognize and react to cardiac arrest. CPR can be the difference between life and death, buying valuable time until the patient is defibrillated or receives other advanced care.

The event was also an opportunity for the fire department to announce a partnership with the American Heart Association in a revolutionary new approach to teaching the basic skills of CPR called the Family and Friends CPR Learning Program. Each Family and Friends kit contains everything needed for a self-directed educational experience that can be completed within 30 minutes. In addition, once a person learns CPR via the Family and Friends Learning Program, he or she is charged to share this knowledge and skill with other friends and family members helping them learn CPR.

Everyone in a single household can learn the lifesaving skills of CPR with just one kit. This is a critical component of the program s ince approximately 70 percent of cardiac emergencies occur in the home, chances are if an individual ever needs to perform CPR it will be to help save the life of a loved one, family member or friend.

We welcome this opportunity to work with the FDNY to help save lives in New York City, said Jane Chesnutt, Chairman of the American Heart Association's New York City Board of Directors and Editor-in-Chief of Woman's Day. This unique partnership emphasizes the American Heart Association's unyielding commitment to strengthening the chain of survival and recovery here in New York City and across the United States.

Fifty students from the FDNY High School for Fire and Life Safety participating in today's demonstration are the first group to receive the new American Heart Association Family & Friends CPR Learning Program and kit. Upon completion of the 22-minute program they will be trained to perform CPR, allowing them to help strengthen the first link in the chain of survival in New York City early bystander CPR and helping us, to help you.

For more information on learning CPR visit www.nyc.gov/fdny/cpr

Contact: Francis X. Gribbon / David Billig (FDNY) (718) 999-2056

http://www.nyc.gov/fdny

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