profile picture of Anisa Arsenault
Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor

How to Host a Party That Could Save Kids' Lives

Guests leave with something way better than a goody bag.
PUBLISHED ON 03/20/2017

The curse of parenthood is that you now envision worst-case scenarios for everything. So you know the importance of preparedness better than anyone. One mom has taken it upon herself to make preparing for an emergency not only accessible, but fun. Meet Laura Metro, the force behind CPR Party.

“As parents, we feel helpless over so much all the time. There’s so little we can prevent,” Metro tells The Bump. And she speaks from experience. In 2011, her son Clay almost drowned in a community pool while family friends were watching him. He was in a coma for two days.

“After Clay’s accident, I became obsessed with why I didn’t know CPR,” she says. “I can rival any fireman in a car seat installation. Why am I not certified in CPR? It was a matter of money and time. People don’t have five hours on a Saturday and $200 to pay for it—unless they’re required to for their job. We’re not bad people; we’re busy. It just doesn’t happen.”

Shortly after Clay’s accident, a friend of the family—an occupational therapist—offered to teach two CPR classes at her house. Metro got to thinking: This could be replicated on a much larger scale.

Her vision: Like a Tupperware or Avon party, friends would meet in a host’s home for about an hour. But rather than shop, they’d learn a life-saving skill.

“Everyone’s really familiar with the format of a shopping party,” Metro says. “This takes a little bit of the edge off the topic of something as serious as CPR. Your instructor is more casual with you. We make sure all critical points are made, but it’s more of a discussion.”

Thanks to a partner called Rescue One, all of CPR Party’s instructors are certified instructor/trainers. They’re vetted for skills and professionalism and trained by Metro’s team to approach CPR Parties more causal than, say, a full-day corporate seminar.

Throughout the 60 to 90-minute CPR Party, attendees practice compressions on three types of mannequins: infant, child and adult. While hosts can guide the conversation to tailor the needs and goals of their group, the goal of CPR party is to make sure everyone leaves with the same consistent information.

Wondering what facilitating something like this costs? It’s actually donation-based.

“We ask for $300 donations,” Metro explains. “The rate is per party per instructor, and each instructor can handle up to 20 people. That ends up being $15 per person. But we never want cost to be a deterrent. If people need it to be free, we make it free, no matter what.”

Guests won’t leave a CPR Party with official certification, just the knowledge of a skill. And Metro explains why that’s okay: “These are the baby steps we need to get people to know this information. I would much rather have people know something, regardless of certification, than literally just stand there and know nothing at all.”

While this began in the DC area, CPR Party is a nationwide program. In some areas, this training is especially imperative.

“If you live in a rural area, it will be hard for first responders to get to you in a timely manner. Even if they arrive within 10 minutes, if no CPR has been done, the chance of survival is 10 percent,” Metro says. “Even then, there could be permanent brain damage. This is a fundamental right all Americans should be able to learn for free. It saves our medical care system so much money. Non-fatal drowning, for example, accrues $7.2 billion in medical expenses a year and it’s completely preventable.”

Ready to gather up a group of friends to book your own CPR Party? Metro just has one request:

“We do encourage people—if they’re going drink alcohol at their parties—to do it after the course.”

PHOTO: Shutterstock