Sudden cardiac arrest is a very serious subject. Teaching students how to save a life can be fun.

The Chain of Survival Relay, first introduced at Simon’s Says Run in 2013, incorporates the three “link” in the chain of survival (a.k.a. steps required to save a life).

First, call 911. This is true for any emergency. By calling 911, we accomplish two things. First responders are sent to help. The trained operator helps us navigate the situation and decide what we, the bystander, can do to help. In the relay, a student searches through a bucket of ping pong balls to find 9-1-1.

Second, get the automated external defibrillator (AED). An AED device is the only tool, whether inside or outside of a hospital, that can save someone in cardiac arrest.The device tells us exactly what to do as it analyzes the heart to determine if a shock is needed. In the relay, a student retrieves the AED and runs to the dummy to apply the AED pads and follow the steps.

Third, begin CPR. This isn’t your father’s CPR that required mouth to mouth. We’re just talking about chest compressions. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) helps move blood and oxygen around the body while the heart isn’t working. Without you serving as the temporary pump, the organs begin to fail. In the relay, students must complete 100 chest compressions. In real life, that is the recommended pace.

Fourth, meet the first responder. In the race, the first responder meets the student at the finish line.

In less than five minutes, the students have competed, laughed and learned life saving measures.