Emergency Medicine

CPR in Wisconsin Schools

Preparing the Community to Improve the Odds of Cardiac Arrest Survival

Preparing the Community to Improve the Odds of Cardiac Arrest Survival is dedicated to increasing sudden cardiac arrest survival in Wisconsin by creating a generational shift where all citizens in the state are prepared and ready to act when faced with a cardiac arrest victim. Through funding provided by the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program (HWPP), this CPR in Schools program will create a system change that will ensure schools have the infrastructure to offer ongoing high-quality CPR training for all students. This system change will take place through a joint effort between the Medical College of Wisconsin and Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) #7, in collaboration with the American Heart Association (AHA) and a number of other Wisconsin based groups.


Cardiac Arrest in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, cardiac arrest causes over 6,500 deaths annually. If victims don’t receive CPR within 5-10 minutes prior to the arrival of EMS, their chances of survival are low. The likelihood of surviving cardiac arrest is a dismal 10%. When bystanders immediately provide CPR to a cardiac arrest victim, survival rates double or even triple. Currently in Wisconsin the bystander CPR rate is extremely low, 19%. A bill was passed ensuring all students learn CPR before graduating from high school. This legislation is a step forward for improving survival, but it includes no funding, teaching tools, or guidance to schools on how to best implement a CPR program. No community has the resources to increase EMS staffing enough to solve this problem. Instead, we need an army of CPR-trained bystanders ready and able to help the moment someone collapses.


Addressing the Problem

This program will increase the number of witnesses to cardiac arrest events who are capable of providing CPR, which will raise the likelihood of the victim receiving bystander CPR and improve survival rates. This will be achieved by assisting schools to provide high-quality, hands-on CPR training and developing best practices for school based training programs. This project will also train educators to organize CPR training programs, provide them with AHA CPR in Schools Training Kits, and facilitate partnerships with their local healthcare/public safety community. These partnerships will support the program training efforts, including the recruitment of volunteers to act as student role models. The program will be continuously evaluated and findings will be shared to improve school-based CPR training.

We have developed many resources to assist schools with implementation, including teacher training curriculum, a sample letter to parents, and program newsletters.

Visit our Participating Schools page to view a list of schools committed to providing hands-on CPR training programs for their students.

Find Out More

For updates and announcements, please visit our Program in Action page.

View a full list of available program resources.

To get involved in helping schools or to sign up to participate in the program, please contact our project team at cprinwischools@gmail.com.

To learn more about our program, follow us on our CPR in Wisconsin School Facebook page.

This project is funded in whole by the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment at the Medical College of Wisconsin.