We’ve all heard of the infamous Tupper Ware parties. But have you heard of the CPR Party? My next guest is Laura Metro who was inspired to create the popular CPR Party originating from a near-death drowning incident of her son. Turning adversity into opportunity, she imagines a world where every neighbor is empowered to become a citizen paramedic. One house at a time, she is democratizing access to affordable CPR training with the hope that no one ever has to suffer the hard-ship she endured with her son.
On this episode, Laura shares with us the horrifying moment of almost losing her son to a preventable drowning incident, what sparked her to create CPR Party, and why she believes CPR training is a global imperative. All this and more on today’s episode.
Now, That’s Unusual.
About Laura Metro
On June 18, 2011, Laura Metro’s life was rocked.
She and her husband went on a run with the family dog on the Delaware shore, while friends watched her two small children at the neighborhood pool. Her three-year-old son, Clay, fell in the deep end and silently sank. He was unconscious in a matter of moments. A bystander performed CPR until paramedics arrived, and Metro and her son were rushed to Wilmington via Medevac. After two days in a coma, Clay awoke to make a miraculous recovery, much of which was attributed to the efforts of the ‘citizen paramedic’ who performed compressions until first responders reached the scene.
Devastated by the incident and driven to make sure no other parent would ever have to experience that kind of grief, Metro leveraged her background in PR and marketing to develop CPR Party, a model that mirrors the in-home shopping party concept. The program provides a CPR instructor to conduct an informal course, and every individual has the opportunity to do compressions on a mannequin and experience an AED demo during the one-hour session.
CPR Party is program of Metro’s CLAY Foundation, which seeks to teach CPR, promote water safety and drowning awareness as well as advocate for FloatFirst swim curriculums. The overarching goal of the foundation is to empower people to save lives through prevention and emergency first response.
Key Interview Takeaways
Drowning is one of the fastest ways to die, and it happens to the children of responsible parents.
We go through life in a comfortable state of denial that the worst will not happen to us. When it does, you become raw and aware – and the only way to function is to live with no regrets, to make sure your children know you love them.
Drowning is entirely preventable, and no parent should have to experience the death or near death of their child because of it. CPR Party seeks to increase awareness and galvanize the ‘citizen paramedic.’
Money and time are the two reasons why people don’t have CPR training. After her son’s accident, Metro became obsessed with the question, ‘Why don’t I know CPR?’ and she discovered that while we talk about the importance of CPR training, it just isn’t that easy to obtain.
People don’t drown because they can’t swim; they drown because they can’t breathe. Thus, it is extremely important to teach children to float on their backs. Metro’s son sank despite two years of swim lessons.
Drowning is the number one killer of children one- to four-years-old, and the number two killer of kids ages two to fourteen. For every child that dies by drowning, there are eight non-fatal accidents. In Texas alone, 107 children drowned in 2016.
We live in a reactive – and judgmental – society. It doesn’t occur to us to learn CPR until after something terrible has happened, and we blame the ‘bad parents’ who let their child drown.
‘When a child drowns, a family drowns.’ Beyond medical costs, the ripple effects extend to therapy expenses, family and siblings who suffer from PTSD, and neurological issues.
The prevention of drownings would be a massive cost-saver for our country. The average two-day hospital stay for cardiac arrest costs $75,000, and drowning is the most expensive injury, costing us a whopping $6.2B in medical expenses each year.
The citizen paramedic can have an enormous impact in saving lives. First responders do a great job, but it is often impossible for them to arrive quickly enough, especially in rural areas. 80% of these events happen at home, so a neighbor with CPR training would be critical in stabilizing a patient until paramedics arrive.
Metro’s best tip for drowning prevention: Enlist a group of Water Watchers. Take ten or twenty minute shifts in which the only thing you’re doing is watching the water – not on your phone or engaged in conversation. ‘Drowning happens when everybody’s watching and nobody’s watching.’
‘I’m unusual because I’m broken.’ Metro stands out because she has cracks in her armor, but she has chosen to do something with those breaks, to create something that serves others.
Connect with Laura Metro