Maryland lawmakers take CPR challenge, become part of the Nation of Lifesavers

Dozens of Maryland lawmakers took the American Heart Association’s challenge to learn how to save a life Thursday.

American Heart Association staff and volunteers challenged Maryland state lawmakers Thursday to learn the two simple steps of Hands-only CPR.

Association staff and volunteers greeted legislators on their way to the State House in Annapolis, demonstrating the lifesaving skill of CPR and asking lawmakers to take 60 seconds to practice it themselves.

“Cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in the world, but it is survivable. In fact, CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival,” said Laura Hale, the American Heart Association’s Director of Government Affairs for Maryland.

“Hands-only CPR is two simple steps – call 911 and press hard and fast on the center of a person’s chest until help arrives – and can be the difference between life and death. We’re challenging our state legislators to learn those two steps and help us in our goal to turn a nation of bystanders into a Nation of Lifesavers™.

Md. Del. Jessica Feldmark, sponsor of The Bailey Bullock Act requiring cardiac emergency action plans in all public schools, stands next to Patrice Bullock, Bailey’s mother, during a Hands-only CPR demonstration in Annapolis Thursday, March 7. Bailey, 16, suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and died outside his school after track practice in May 2021. He did not receive CPR for several minutes after he collapsed.

Patrice Bullock, whose son Bailey died from a sudden cardiac arrest in May 2021 following track practice at his school in Bel Air, was be among those leading Hands-only CPR demonstrations.

“My Bailey was lost because he did not receive immediate CPR or a prompt assessment from an AED,” she said. “We need more people to know how and be ready and confident to perform CPR when someone suffers a sudden cardiac arrest.”

Bullock and others, including former Baltimore Ravens WR Torrey Smith, testified last week in favor of Senate Bill 1024 and House Bill 1219 – now named “The Bailey Bullock Act” – which would require every public school in Maryland to create a cardiac emergency response plan.

On Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Education Subcommittee unanimously voted to add private schools to the bill language.

Cardiac arrest can happen anytime, anywhere. Each year in the United States, more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside a hospital, and survival depends on immediately receiving CPR and a shock from an AED.

Unfortunately, about 9 out of 10 people who suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest do not survive, often because they did not receive CPR from a bystander.

Seven in 10 people in America say they feel powerless to act in the face of a cardiac emergency. As a result, only about 46% of people who experience cardiac arrest receive CPR from people nearby while waiting for emergency responders to arrive. Research shows that figure is even lower for women and Black and Hispanic or Latino adults.

The American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary organization dedicated to building healthier lives for all, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, launched the Nation of Lifesavers™ campaign in June 2023 to challenge everyone to commit to make CPR and AED awareness and education a permanent fixture in all communities across the country.