By SARAH STOCKMAN
Early one Sunday morning in November, I waited at the Sunset and Swarthmore bus stop for the 602 Metro Bus to Westwood. It was late, of course, but I wasn’t too worried as we wound our way along Sunset Boulevard.
I got off at UCLA and made my way to the Ackerman Student Union. It felt like a homecoming of sorts. I didn’t attend UCLA, but I graduated from college [John Hopkins] three years ago and hadn’t really set foot on a campus since. I almost felt the need to do homework, but pushed it aside as I asked for directions to the Viewpoint Conference Room.
I found the room and stood outside as a group gathered, waiting for the doors to open. At 9 a.m. they did, and I was ushered inside and told to sit next to the plastic and silicone half-torso of a man. I looked down at this temporary patient of mine and hoped that in four hours I would know how to use CPR to save his life.
I had wanted to learn CPR since high school (I’m now 25) but I never managed to find the time. I also found the classes offered very expensive. Yes, I was learning to save a person’s life, but did I have to spend $110 to do so? When a friend told me about this CPR class she had taken at UCLA for only $17, I was intrigued.
SWC CPR & First Aid at UCLA is a student-run program designed to certify as many members of the UCLA student body and community as possible.
“Our goal is to curb the rising trend of increasing pre-hospital deaths around the nation by teaching basic life-saving skills to community members,” the program’s ‘About’ page reads.
A quick Google search backs this up.
“Currently, about 9 in 10 people who have cardiac arrest outside the hospital die,” reads a Center for Disease Control article. “If [CPR] is performed in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest, CPR can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.”
According to the American Heart Association, 435,000 Americans experience cardiac arrest each year. Less than 15 percent of them survive. However, if CPR is performed, more than 45 percent of victims survive.
I find that statistic staggering. Almost 200,000 people die unnecessarily because there’s no one there to perform CPR. The solution is a four-hour class taught by college students that takes you through adult, child, and infant CPR.
My class, there were about 10 of us, finished an hour early. I left feeling tired but confident that if the need arose, I could potentially save a person’s life.
For more information or to register for a class, visit www.uclacpr.com.