On a late-spring morning at the Keeneland library near Lexington, the American Heart Association recognized representatives of Keeneland, Darley, and Stonestreet Farm for training their employees in CPR and placing automated external defibrilators on their properties.
The June 5 press conference took place in the midst of National CPR/AED Awareness Week, a time when the American Heart Association urges people to learn how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation and use the defibrillators, called AEDs.
“I think the credit should go to Keeneland president Nick Nicholson and vice president Harvey Wilkinson, who have encouraged Keeneland to take the lead in whatever we do,” Keeneland spokesman Jim Williams said upon accepting a plaque of recognition.
Williams said more than two dozen people on Keeneland’s security staff would be trained in CPR. “Keeneland has become a year-round operation, so it’s important that we have people trained here 24 hours a day,” he said. “We are pleased to be participating in the program.”
According to American Heart Association statistics, sudden cardiac arrest kills more than 455 men, women, and children each day. Effective CPR immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or even triple survival rates, but less than then a third of those situations receive bystander CPR attention. Without cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the chances of surviving sudden cardiac arrest drops 7% to 10% per minute.
“Darley always strives to be a leader in the Thoroughbred industry with the outstanding care of our horses, but we truly value our employees, clients, and visitors—anybody who sets foot on our farm,” said Laurette Durick, the operation's human resources manager.
About 30 managers on Darley’s Lexington staff, as well as its Gainsborough Farm near Versailles, Ky., will be trained in CPR. “We hope we never have to use (CPR), but we want to be prepared," she said. "We encourage other farms and businesses out in the country who are miles away from getting help to know that minutes really matter.”
Jay Foote, security manager at Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Farm near Lexington, said he started implementing CPR training in May 2006, and now all of the farm’s security staff and half of its managers are certified. Foote’s goals include having yearly refresher courses, as well as a farm employee who can train others on site.
Joseph Laskowski, community strategies manager of the AHA, said working with Keeneland, Darley, and Stonestreet was the organization’s initial CPR training effort with the Thoroughbred industry, but the organization soon plans to reach out to additional equine facilities across the country.
“There are many more farms to go…we want to work to identify other areas geographically that would benefit from this,” Laskowski said.