New Online AED and CPR Training Opportunities: Q & A with Keith Weaver

When and why was "HeartSavingSeattle.com" formed? When my wife was working at an AED manufacturer in 2005, she would come home and tell me about the statistics of cardiac arrest. At first I didn't believe her, because I had never heard these grim statistics before. So I started to do my own research and was appalled at what I found. What was most upsetting was the fact that all throughout my schooling I was never made aware that cardiac arrest is the number one killer in the United States, nor was I ever given any training on how to help a victim of cardiac arrest. It seemed to me that health education in schools should include this vital training. Therefore, I started a company called HeartSaving Solutions in September of 2006, in the hopes of making people aware of cardiac arrest and training them in the use of CPR and AEDs, in a way that was cost effective. What types of training classes are offered? What are the costs associated with the training? We currently offer three courses: Credentialed CPR/AED: This uses the American Heart Association s (AHA) AED Anytime materials along with an online course ($79.95/student) CPR/AED Awareness: This uses the AHA s CPR Anytime materials along with an online course ($42.95/student) Introduction to CPR/AED: This is our most popular course; all the materials are online, which dramatically drops the cost of the course ($9.95/student - current promotion) Who is the training intended for? In addition, will participants receive a certificate showing they've completed and passed training? These courses are designed for middle and high schools to provide CPR and AED training to their students. The only course that gives students the option of certification is the Credentialed CPR/AED course, which allows them to print out a certificate to take to their local AHA training center and practice their skills with a certified instructor. We do this by using the AHA s AED Anytime materials. However, a unique component to our website is that we combine these AHA materials with an online class so health teachers can view students progress, and students can be graded on what they learn. Our main objective, though, is to provide schools with an affordable option to make students aware of cardiac arrest, CPR, and AEDs. This is why we created the Introduction to CPR/AED course. We recommend to students that they do get certified, but believe that if schools cannot afford to certify their students that they should at least inform them of the need and give them the knowledge to help a loved one in need. While this course works great for a traditional school that is looking for an affordable option, it was initially designed for virtual or cyberschools that didn't until now have any way of teaching their students these skills. Who teaches the classes? Also, how long does it take to complete each training course? The courses are all online, and lessons include pictures, slide shows, audio and videos learned at a student s own pace. AHA-certified instructors facilitate and oversee the classes by answering students questions and giving feedback via email,chat rooms, and forums. The Introduction to CPR/AED course takes only about two hours to complete. How many have participated so far? This is a brand new product introduced for the 2008/2009 school year. We have been marketing it exclusively to virtual schools or cyberschools, and are working with about 15 schools to implement it for the next school year. Is this training something that should be offered in the classroom or as an after-school program? In addition, do the schools that participate need to already have an AED or CPR manikin onsite? Most schools that are planning to offer the courses are going to include them with their health curriculum. In addition, no manikins or AEDs are needed to take the Introduction to CPR/AED course. The other two courses will use the AHA materials, which have a manikin included. Why was it important to offer online training? Online training is important for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that virtual or cyberschools need the course to be online so they can train their students, who learn at home using mainly online classes. Secondly, a big part of the reason schools choose not to make CPR/AED training mandatory for their students is because of the time it takes to teach the course and the cost to bring in a certified instructor to train the students. Providing schools with an online CPR/AED course gives them another option to train their students, and because the training is done online, it reduces the cost of instruction and provides an affordable solution to schools that typically cannot afford this training. Can individuals (i.e., those not in school) also take the online courses? How can people sign up for the cyberschool? They could, but I would recommend to an individual that they go to their local AHA or American Red Cross training center. Our courses are more specifically designed to give schools a way of tracking a student s progress. However, we are exploring the idea of providing a course for expecting parents who don't have the time or the money to take a traditional course. We are currently taking a survey to see if this would be of interest to parents. (This survey will be available on our site in about one week.) The name of the website is "HeartSavingSeattle.com"; however, can people all over the U.S. use this? Yes, the name is due to the fact that we are based in Seattle. We have, however, recently added the following domain names www.highschoolcpr.com and www.middleschoolcpr.com which take you directly to the HeartSavingSeattle.com page. In addition, the Introduction to CPR/AED course is available internationally as well, although it is currently available only to schools in English-speaking European countries. Is there anything else you'd like to add? I believe that everyone needs to be educated about the dangers of cardiac arrest and how they can save a loved one s life if they are given the knowledge and tools needed in order to help. Also, the need for training middle school and high school students in CPR/AEDs is an issue known industry wide. School health programs are simply not complete without it. In most cases, schools cannot afford the classes, not only because of cost, but also the amount of time it would take from other studies. In addition to schools dealing with these issues, there are also virtual schools and cyberschools that have to overcome the additional obstacle of teaching all of their classes online. This is why I believe online training is the best way to get middle and high school students effectively trained. Of course, online training is not the only option, and if a school can afford to train their students through the traditional methods, then they should certainly pursue that. However, for those who cannot afford that option, there is now a program available for them. For more information, please visit: www.HeartSavingSeattle.com