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New program trains Emory community on basic CPR, AED use

Lives are saved every day in Emory's hospitals, but Emory Emergency Medical Services (EEMS) is piloting a new program within the Emory community to teach people how to save lives all over campus.

The program began as two one-hour training sessions put together by Emory's Office of Critical Event Preparedness (CEPAR) to show Woodruff Health Sciences Center staff members how to perform basic CPR and use an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) in the event of an emergency. 

"Not everyone who requests CPR courses from us wants a full two- to four-hour certification course, but they do want to learn the basics of CPR, how to use an AED, and how to deal with the initial stages of an emergency," says Rachel Barnhard, director of EEMS.

"Across the country, people are using a concept called 'Sidewalk CPR' to teach the public the basics of CPR in a short period of time, usually 10-15 minutes," she explains. "EEMS's course is a variation of this idea and includes AED use and lots of practice time and scenarios. It also allows a large group to train at once and to have plenty of time for questions and discussion."

Sam Shartar, senior administrator with CEPAR, says the current "sidewalk CPR" course was developed with EEMS in response to interest after additional AEDs were installed on campus. Currently there are about 31 AEDs located around campus.

"We know that just-in-time training works," Shartar says. "It is important for people to get whatever training they can. If the layperson gets some basic first-aid training and simple CPR training, and they learn how to operate the AEDs, they will have the tools that can be applied if an emergency arises. It will help them to be better prepared to act in the workplace, the home, or any other place in the event of an emergency. We know that this can save lives.

The course is based on the recommendations of the American Heart Association (AHA) and all of the lead instructors for the CPR courses are certified AHA instructors.

"This format allows us to bring the course to the location of the group requesting it. We can use any space that has room for people to spread out on the floor with the mannequins to practice," Barnhard says. "This 45-minute course teaches people the basics of how to save a life, and wecan provide it at almost any time of day, including during convenient times such as lunch hours."

Emory Health Sciences Communications and Marketing produced a short video outlining the course. So far, four groups within two divisions have taken the class, which is free of charge.

 To schedule training, contact the EEMS Training Division at 404-727-0180 or

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