February is American Heart Month, a time when individuals and healthcare professionals are focusing on getting the word out about the importance of a healthy heart. 

With the recent news on the health of Buffalo Bills owner Kim Pegula, as well as the public cardiac arrest and recovery of Bills safety Damar Hamlin, it’s no secret that cardiovascular health is at the forefront of many Western New Yorkers' minds.

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Since the incidents, many Erie county residents have investigated learning CPR, whether through area classes or online courses - but finding the time can be tricky for busy residents.

More than ever, it is so important to learn CPR in case of an emergency situation, and now, time and cost can no longer be an excuse thanks to a new public initiative.

The Buffalo Bills Foundation, the American Heart Association, Buffalo and Erie County Public Libraries, and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York have teamed up to offer CPR training kits that residents can borrow for free. The kits will be available at all 37 library locations in Erie county. 

Beginning in mid-March, local residents can check out one of the training kits from their local library and learn CPR in as little as 20 minutes in the privacy of their own homes without having to pay a dime.

Each CPR training kit contains an inflatable “Annie” doll, a bilingual DVD, brochures, and cards to help individuals learn proper techniques. The kit will teach someone how to perform CPR and how to use an AED (automated external defibrillator) in cases of cardiac arrest. The kit will also cover other lifesaving techniques, like what to do if someone is choking.

Michelle Roberts, Executive Director of the Buffalo Bills Foundation, commented:

As everyone is well aware through our organization’s experiences with our owner and president, Kim Pegula, and safety Damar Hamlin, we know firsthand the importance of being educated and empowered to perform CPR in an emergency situation.

If the cost or your schedule has prevented you from taking the time to learn CPR, this is a great way to make sure you and your family have the confidence and know-how to jump into action and potentially save a life in a harrowing incident.

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