GVolunteer CPR In Action
NYC Service, the office tasked with implementing New York City’s high-impact service plan, currently runs CPR To Go, a Volunteer CPR program. Prior to this initiative, the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) conducted ad hoc CPR training in an effort to increase the number of New Yorkers who could respond in a cardiac-related emergency. New York formalized this training in a partnership between NYC Service, FDNY, and the FDNY Foundation. Members of the FDNY field calls, manage sign-ups, buy and store CPR training kits, and conduct formal trainings with individual groups. These individuals each pledge to train five other individuals. Their pledges are tracked by the FDNY, which uses NYC Civic Corps AmeriCorps members to conduct email and phone-pledge follow-ups.
In the first year of the program, New York City was able to train 12,000 volunteer CPR trainers who subsequently trained 40,000 other individuals in hands-only CPR. To-date, NYC Service has trained over 120,000 New Yorkers in CPR. The program has also been replicated in: Austin, Buffalo, Duluth, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Milwaukee, Richmond, Rock Hill, Orlando, Phoenix, Savannah, and Virginia Beach.
Below are some key lessons learned from implementation:
- Develop partnerships to expand training space capacity and community access. NYC Service partnered with a local athletic club, New York Sports Club, to offer free training to all members of the public (the sports club gave a oneweek free membership pass as an incentive to those who came to get training). Partnering with a local athletic club was extremely helpful at solving space challenges.
- When possible, have staff personally call volunteer trainers to track their pledge fulfillment and encourage them to continue training other individuals.
- Increase awareness of CPR training efforts being conducted in the community whenever possible. In New York City, NYC Service coordinated mass training events for the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance, which resulted in nearly 500 people being trained.
Another key lesson based on the AHA’s experience in training events is:
- For mass CPR training events, plan the event where there is a built-in audience, high degree of foot traffic, or complementary timing with an existing event. This makes it easier to recruit large numbers of volunteers.