BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Learning CPR is not as hard as you may think. Louisiana high schoolers are now required by law to know the technique before they graduate. You can help get training kits into schools by starring in your very own Blue Cross commercial.
The 2014 Burke Cobb Act made Louisiana the seventeenth state to add the CPR requirement to high schools. The act was named for a 14-year-old Dutchtown High student who collapsed and died from cardiac arrest while playing basketball in 2012.
"That puts 35,000 seniors a year into our community that know this life-saving technique, and even to where the kids can then show their family members, and it spreads," local Heart Walk director Lee Rayner said.
The American Heart Association has CPR training kits in a handful of local schools, but they're not cheap. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana foundation recently launched a campaign called Together Strong to help buy more. Users cast themselves in a commercial by uploading pictures from Facebook. The foundation will donate one dollar for every person who makes a video.
"Our goal is 20,000 people across Louisiana to participate," foundation president Michael Tipton said. "So we'd love to get more people in the Baton Rouge area and across the state to engage, and it's just a really cool, fun piece of technology."
Go to togetherstrongla.com to make your video and share with your friends.
Helping to get the word out about the Together Strong campaign is seventh grader Quentin Ross. The Gonzales Middle School student never expected to become a hero, but it happened one January afternoon when he stepped off the school bus.
"I looked in the laundry room and saw my dad on the ground, so I just grabbed the phone and the paramedics lady told me to do chest compressions," Quentin explained.
43-year-old O'Neal Ross was in cardiac arrest and probably would not be alive today if his son had not been there to perform CPR. O'Neal spent the next few days in a medically-induced coma. He woke up to a real-life angel.
"At first he didn't believe me," Quentin recalled. "And I told him, and he was just happy."
If you find yourself in Quentin's situation, call 911 first and then push hard and fast in the center of the victim's chest. Compressions can be done to the tune of the hit Bee Gees song Stayin' Alive. Hands-only CPR can be the difference between life and death.
According to the American Heart Association, bystander CPR can double or triple survival rates from cardiac arrest. However, many people do not get help from bystanders who could provide CPR if they knew how.
Of the roughly 424,000 Americans who have a cardiac arrest outside of the hospital each year, only 40 percent get CPR from a bystander and only about 10 percent survive. For each minute that CPR is not performed, survival rates drop about 10 percent.