I have a confession to make. My father is an Eagle Scout. His father earned the Silver Beaver award, one of the highest awards an individual can get in scouting, for his lifelong efforts in the program. I, however, failed to earn my Eagle Scout award, much to the chagrin of both men. I don't know if my lack of achievement is the reason I don't remember much of anything from my time as a Boy Scout, but the reality is that I can barely remember how to tie a square knot, let alone perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, in a stressful situation.
So when I was tasked with reviewing the Family & Friends CPR Anytime Personal Learning Program kit, I figured this was a chance to re-learn an important skill that I may need to use one day. I took the box home and opened it up. The box contained a miniature mannequin, called a Mini Anne, instructional DVD and informational brochure. I put the DVD in and the program began with two individuals recounting their experience with CPR; one had her life saved by the technique, while the other was the hero in a potentially tragic situation. I found the story compelling and it was a good introduction to the kit.
Then began the instructional portion of the DVD. The woman presenting the lessons spoke clearly and kept things simple. Though the instructions on how to inflate the Mini Anne are printed on the inside of the box, the DVD walked me through the process, just to make sure I'd got it right.
It turns out that CPR is a simpler process than I remembered. Thirty chest compressions, two rescue breaths, repeat. The Mini Anne comes with a setting that makes the mannequin's chest click when you're applying the correct amount of pressure, adjustable to either adult or a child setting.
The lesson was brief, but thorough. Each step was repeated more than once, to ensure information retention, and made use of auditory, visual and hands-on teaching styles. The DVD also reviews information on how to perform the Heimlich maneuver.
The kit includes a replacement "lung" for the Mini Anne and a booklet on CPR written by the American Heart Association. The kit retails for $34.95, and that's right around where I'd expect it to be.
Overall, I found the learning program to be very effective. I remember the steps of CPR even a few days after viewing the DVD. I'd recommend this kit for anyone; you never know when you may need to save the life of a loved one and prevent a heartbreaking tragedy. You never want to have to use this skill, but you never want to be without it either.
PDB Assistant Editor