News Release



For More Information:

William R. Steinhaus
Dutchess County Executive
(845) 486-2000

March 16, 1999


County Executive Cites CPR Initiative as Critical


Poughkeepsie, NY- County Executive William R. Steinhaus visited Dover High School today to view a 10th grade class take part in the new CPR Initiative. The County Executive is aggressively pushing his CPR Initiative which will ensure that all high school students in the county receive Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, or CPR, training before they graduate. A second goal is that a minimum of 100 graduates be actually certified as trainees each year.

"One of the most amazing realizations that society has made has been that 'sudden death' can be reversed and that any of us can do this, anywhere, by just using our hands, our lungs and our brain," County Executive Steinhaus said. "Each person who learns CPR becomes that much more valuable to their community."

Steinhaus has been actively pursuing this initiative in conjunction with the Health Department and the American Heart Association. "This ambitious effort is another example of how public/private partnerships not only help the county do more with less, but also help county government touch resident's lives in a literally life-saving fashion," Steinhaus said. "I'd like to personally express my gratitude to the Heart Association for donating the student handbooks as well as, Laerdal for donating the mannequins used during the training."

Seven high schools throughout the county already have CPR training programs up and running, including Beacon High school, Rhinebeck High School, Millbrook High School, Dover High School, Poughkeepsie High School, Webutuck High School and Pawling High School. The other high schools in the county will be given the opportunity to become active in this program soon. I would like to see all the schools active in this program as soon as possible," stated Steinhaus. Students are given this training during either Health or Gym class. The training consists of four hours of general heart and lung education followed by CPR life saving techniques.

The Dover High School program Steinhaus visited to observe on Tuesday is focused on 9th and  10th grade students as part of their physical education classes. As estimated, 125--150 Dover students will be trained this year.

According to the Heart Association Handbook, about two thirds of the deaths caused by heart attacks occur before the victim reaches the hospital. Many of these deaths can be prevented if the victim gets prompt help from someone who is trained in CPR, until more advanced medical help arrives.

The county executive has also recommended, and the legislature has approved, a Bio-statistician position be created in the Dutchess County Health Department to ensure the plan is an effective, lifesaving component of the community's health planning. "Right now we don't have accurate information to reflect whether our CPR initiatives are having the desired impact in the county or not," said Dutchess County Health Department Commissioner Dr. Michael Caldwell. "Our intention is to make a difference and a Bio-statistician, by analyzing data collected locally, can help us determine our success." The Bio-statistician position will be filled in July.

"I emphasized the importance of this initiative in my State of the County Address in January," Said Steinhaus. "The objective is to increase the current estimated survival rate of less than 3% of all sudden death cardiac arrest victims, to over 20%."


County Executive Press Releases