Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on Monday unveiled a new kiosk designed to teach passengers hands-only CPR.
A touch screen at the kiosk at Gate B7 provides a five-minute lesson, followed by a practice session and a 30-second CPR test using a rubber mannequin, officials said. The kiosk gives feedback during the lesson on hand placement, pressure and rate of compressions.
BWI is one of four airports to receive such a kiosk, and only the fifth facility in the nation to get one. Chicago O'Hare, Indianapolis and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta international airports will also feature the kiosks; the Global Center for Health Innovation in Cleveland has one.
The kiosk program is operated by the American Heart Association and funded by the Amerigroup Foundation. More than 350,000 cardiac arrests happen outside of hospitals, the groups said, and more than 20 percent of those occur in public places like airports, casinos and sporting facilities. Hands-only CPR has been proved to be equally effective as conventional mouth-to-mouth CPR, with the added benefit of people being likelier to be comfortable performing it.
"We believe pretty strongly that the hands-only CPR kiosk is a terrific way to train folks on how to save a life — in fun and easy manner," said Jack Lewin, chair-elect of the American Heart Association's Mid-Atlantic Affiliate board.
The 60,000 people who come through the airport daily will have the chance to try out the kiosk if they have extra time between flights, Lewin said.
It will be located in the airport's B Terminal, the busiest, which houses Southwest Airlines' gates, BWI spokesman Jonathan Dean said. The Dallas-based airline operates 70 percent of the airport's flights, he said.
"Millions of passengers per year will have access to this tool," Dean said.
The kiosk doesn't provide any formal certification, but is designed to give the user more confidence in rendering aid to a person in need. Immediate CPR can double or triple the chances of survival for someone in cardiac arrest, Lewin said.
Dr. Lelin Chao, medical director of Amerigroup Maryland, said the airport is "a perfect place to have this important technology."
"We're watching it right now people are walking by taking a look they're curious about it," Chao said. "That's exactly what we want. Within five minutes you learn enough to be helpful."