After Indianapolis International Airport installed a Hands-Only CPR training kiosk in March 2016, Juan Muñoz, a police officer at the airport, made it a regular stop as he patrolled the terminals, trying it a couple times a week.
The interactive program, which measures quality of compression depth and pace, as well as hand position, sparked a competitive spirit in Muñoz, who kept trying to improve his results.
“I just kept practicing until I perfected it,” said Muñoz, who is required to undergo CPR certification every two years.
A month later, on April 5, those skills were put to the test when a passenger alerted Muñoz to a woman in cardiac distress.
As he approached, the woman lost consciousness and Muñoz immediately began Hands-Only CPR while another officer went to get an automated external defibrillator, or AED. Paramedics arrived within a few minutes and revived her with the AED. She was taken to the hospital and survived, Muñoz later learned.
Muñoz said the practice he got using the kiosk gave him confidence to use his skills effectively.
“With the kiosk, you can keep trying until you get it right,” he said. “You don’t realize how hard and how deep you have to press.”
There are now 16 training kiosks at airports and other public places nationwide. The latest opened Thursday at Philadelphia Independence Visitor Center.
The kiosks were developed by the American Heart Association and launched through a partnership with the Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem Inc.
“Airports are a crossroads of people going everywhere,” said Clifton Callaway, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. “The kiosks can train people who are going to all parts of the world.”
In the U.S. alone, more than 350,000 people have a cardiac arrest outside a hospital each year, but only about half get CPR from a bystander. CPR can double or triple a person’s chance of survival, especially if performed within the first few minutes of cardiac arrest.
“You can’t just wait for professional responders because they can’t get there in those critical first few minutes,” said Callaway, who is immediate past chair of AHA’s Emergency Cardiovascular Care committee. “You’re really buying time for those citizens until first responders arrive.”
The kiosks were first introduced in 2013 with a location at DFW International Airport. Participants use a touch screen to watch a brief instruction video about Hands-Only CPR, followed by a practice session using a rubber manikin torso. A 30-second hands-on test offers feedback about the depth and rate of compressions and proper hand placement, key factors that influence the effectiveness of CPR. As of September, the kiosks also provide the training in Spanish.
“People are afraid and think CPR can only be done by a professional, but that’s the furthest thing from the truth,” said Ahamed Idris, M.D., a professor of emergency medicine and internal medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. He’s also the senior author of a recent study that found the kiosk at DFW airport had more than 23,000 visits during a 32-month period.
More kiosk deployments are in the works, according to the AHA, which each year trains an estimated 21 million people worldwide in CPR.
Along with training, Callaway said the kiosks serve as a constant reminder to take action during a cardiac emergency.
“It’s just like walking past a fire extinguisher at work every day,” he said. “We want people to immediately remember what to do, just like they know to pull the fire alarm and use an extinguisher.”
At the Indianapolis airport, Muñoz still regularly stops by the kiosk to test his skills, and encourages travelers lingering nearby to give it a try.
“You never know when you may need to save a life,” he said.
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