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Hands-on travel: Automated kiosk at Dallas airport teaches CPR

July 15, 2013 at 10:45 AM ET

Image: CPR training at DFW
American Heart Association
Amanda-Rae Garcia, left, of the DFW Airport Live Well Center, looks on as American Airlines Lead Program Nurse Cindy Contreras tries out a hands-only CPR kiosk at DFW Airport.

Travelers at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) can shop, snack, snooze and practice yoga while waiting for a flight. For the next six months they can also use their dwell time to learn how to save lives.

During a pilot program they hope to bring to other airports, the Dallas-based American Heart Association has partnered with American Airlines, also headquartered in Dallas, to host an automated kiosk to teach air travelers a simplified CPR method called Hands-Only.

Passengers can perform the technique — which does not require rescue breaths — on the torso of a manikin while viewing a watch-while-practice video showing the correct procedure in a non-threatening and fun way. “This tool really breaks the barrier people have of being afraid to initiate CPR while waiting for help to arrive,” said American Airlines physician Jeral Ahtone.

Research has shown that even abbreviated training with a short video can help people remember CPR steps, so secure, high-traffic areas such as airports, “where there is a lot of down time for people who are waiting for their flights” are logical sites to teach people the simplified CPR procedure, said Dr. Ahamed Idris, an American Heart Association volunteer and professor of Surgery and Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

The video program on the touch screen kiosk gives a brief introduction to the technique and is followed by a practice session and a 30-second test. Feedback is given to the user about depth, compression rate and proper hand placement.

“There's a real value to putting simple and understandable life-saving information out in public,” said DFW spokesman David Magaña. And because DFW has added amenities such as a walking path, a yoga studio, a massage and spa center and a soundproofed nap center towards its goal of being “one of the healthiest airports anywhere ... this project seemed a good fit,” he said.

And over the next six months, don’t be surprised if you come upon passengers at DFW humming the Bee Gees song “Stayin’ Alive” or doing a few John Travolta-style, finger-in-the-air disco dance moves. The instruction video encourages those performing CPR to first call 9-1-1 and then push hard and fast in the center of a victim’s chest to the beat of the disco classic, which has a perfect beat for the lifesaving procedure.

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