We are advocating for new legislation in RI that will ensure that teachers across the state are trained in a series of “Basic Emergency and Response Skills" (BEARS). These skills include CPR training, bleeding control, and choking protocol.
Overall Purpose
In the state of Rhode Island, an ambulance typically takes 5-7 minutes to arrive, but many health crises can cause permanent brain damage or death within 90 seconds. The BEARS team has researched the most effective of these crises for people with no medical experience to treat and found that CPR, the Heimlich, and bleeding control training are highly efficient at saving lives. Currently, Rhode Island high school seniors are required to learn CPR in order to graduate, but teachers are not provided with the same training, which poses a significant risk for health and safety for students. The BEARS team hopes to alleviate the pressure on nurses and improve response times to an emergency by making sure each school has many first responders capable of administering first aid care if necessary. To that end, we have drafted legislation that has been introduced in the RI General Assembly and created a training curriculum that has been extremely popular with teachers. According to post-training surveys administered during our pilot program, 93.3% of teachers rated the training as effective, and 80.2% felt prepared to respond to classroom emergencies, a 96% improvement from before the training. Lack of confidence in emergency medicine is a main contributor to deaths from heart failure, choking, and bleeding, and this increased confidence has already shown results. Two teachers reported successfully using the BEARS training in emergencies even during lockdown. Overall, BEARS provides a simple and effective solution that makes Rhode Island schools safer for all.
Short-Term Goals
The BEARS team is hoping to make sure that all teachers have access to training in CPR, the Heimlich, and bleeding control techniques via legislation.