Centennial Flashback: Super CPR weekends train thousands in 1980s

ARC_CentennialLogo_Tagline_LARegionThroughout the Red Cross Month of March, the Red Cross Los Angeles Region is Celebrating its 100 Years of Service with a series titled: Centennial Flashback.  This will be a historical snapshots about the Red Cross L.A. Chapter in action during the past 100 years.


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Training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) began at the L.A. Chapter in 1975. Although the life-saving technique had been successfully used for some time by doctors, nurses and allied health personnel, an 8-hour course to teach it was not developed by the American Red Cross until that year. Prior to that time, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation had been taught in Red Cross courses to revive people whose breathing had stopped.

Because of the success of CPR in saving lives, it was strongly recommended that as many members of the general public as possible be trained. It became very popular among the many courses offered by Safety Services (now known as Preparedness).

To promote public awareness of the need for the training, the chapter held special CPR trainings at both the district and chapter levels that were designated as “Super CPR” weekends or Saturdays. One of the more successful of these was held in 1982 in cooperation with NBC4 television and UCLA. Also assisting were the Los Angeles Dodgers, who held special CPR Nights to publicize the training.

Over the weekend of August 14-15, 100 of the chapter’s volunteer instructors’ certified more than 1,000 persons who gathered at UCLA’s Drake Stadium to be trained in CPR. The stadium infield was filled with 90 Resusci-Annies for the instruction, and areas were set aside for study and testing.

By Barbara Wilks

Chapter Historian

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