Imagine being able to jump in and save a life - after training you got while waiting to catch a flight.
That is the basis for a new kiosk at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 735,000 Americans suffer a heart attack every year. Almost half of them happen outside the hospital.
Monday, the American Heart Association launched a Hands-Only CPR training kiosk at Hopkins.
“Actually doing it has proven to be more effective for people to retain the learning,” noted Toni Carlo, Cleveland Metro Executive Director of the American Heart Association.
“It is better to know it and never need it than to need it and not know it,” remarked airport director Robert Kennedy.
Every year, more than 350,000 cardiac arrests happen outside the hospital. Roughly 20 percent of them occur in public places, like airports.
Survival depends on immediately receiving CPR, which is why training is so vital.
“That's the key,” said Carlo. “Having access to learn it, having a guide to be able to learn it from a trusted source.”
The kiosk offers a training video, then a practice session, followed by a 30-second test on a mannequin. The kiosk gives participants feedback along the way, making sure they have the hand placement and compression rate down pat. The entire training takes about five minutes, equipping people to step in and help a heart attack victim, thereby doubling or even tripling their chance of survival.
“62 minutes went by before they got my heartbeat back,” recalled Christi Nelson. As a local heart attack survivor, she knows the importance of CPR training firsthand.
“The more people we can train and make aware of CPR and AEDs, the more lives we can save,” Nelson said.
She was working at Akron Children's Hospital in 2006 when she collapsed and went into cardiac arrest. Co-workers started compressions as soon as they found her, then transferred her to Akron General.
After more than an hour with no heartbeat, Nelson was put into a coma. Her family was told she had less than a five percent chance of coming out of it, and a 100 percent chance of being in a vegetative state for the rest of her life if she did. Instead, after a tough fight, she lived to tell the story. In fact, 17 months after her heart attack, she became a mother.
“I'm so thankful for the people who did not give up on me and the people who performed CPR on me and gave me a second chance at life, so that I can now be a mom to my daughter,” noted Nelson.
Nelson said in the five minutes after she collapsed, five people walked by and left her.
“I don't think those people were being malicious,” she said. “I think people don't know what to do.”
“Now we have something that everybody can learn and we can make a difference each and every day,” Kennedy said.
Cleveland Hopkins says it had 8.5 million passengers come through its doors last year. That number is expected to be even higher this year. Airport officials say training people in life-saving measures like CPR is especially important as those numbers continue to grow.
CPR training kiosks are being installed at airports in Cincinnati and Orlando next month, which will bring the total to seven kiosks in the United States.