Lifesaving Austin startup CPRWrap launches nationally

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of CPRWrap | Daily Texan Staff

Felicia Jackson worked as a medical professional and was CPR certified, but she froze and was unable to act when her 2-year-old son stopped breathing in the backseat of the car. Her husband was able to save their son’s life, but Jackson realized something needed to be done to make it easier for people to act during sudden cardiac arrest emergencies.

To make CPR more accessible and less stressful, Jackson created CPRWrap, a product that uses a translucent overlay on the body to act as a CPR template. The product provides hand placement and guides users through the American Heart Association’s four steps to CPR. After a soft launch in 2015 in Tennessee, Jackson announced CPRWrap’s national launch through Austin-based startup accelerator Techstars in 2019 and has already partnered with school systems, hospitals and airlines. 

Jackson said CPRWrap makes it possible for anyone to perform CPR effectively and can prevent people from panic-induced “freezing” during traumatic situations.

“After my son choked, I was very upset with myself and thought that if I could panic and forget the things that I had learned, what about the nonmedical people that don’t have any training at all?” Jackson said.

Jackson said the number of people who don’t know CPR or don’t respond in emergencies is staggering, so she wants to give people the power to act even if they aren’t regularly trained.

“I want to empower people to do the most simple, basic thing a human can do and that’s help each other,” Jackson said.

CPRWrap operations manager Lauren Zebrowski said having CPRWrap in homes can be a useful precaution for families.

“There are many reasons a responder may hesitate to perform CPR, which is why the CPRWrap Aid is a necessity,” Zebrowski said. “Parents, babysitters, grandparents and friends are most at risk for panic and hesitation.”

As a young company, Zebrowski said CPRWrap is focused on growth and having a positive impact on the community. 

“When I first started working with Felicia Jackson, she told me that regardless of the successes or failures we face as a company, true success will be based on the number of lives saved with the help of CPRWrap,” Zebrowski said. 

Christine DiPietro, program manager for Techstars, said because many people forget skills learned in CPR courses, CPRWrap is a useful tool to remember CPR training in high pressure situations.

“(CPRWrap is) a product that can help remind people to jump-start their memory to make sure that they can properly administer CPR and help save a life,” DiPietro said. “I think it’s a very simple thing and the price point is very low and very comfortable that it’s something that you can afford to keep underneath the bathroom sink.”

DiPietro said CPRWrap should be an accessible product in the home and wherever an emergency might occur. 

“This is something that belongs in every first aid kit, in every classroom, on every airplane,” DiPietro said. “There’s 3.2 million AEDs (automated external defibrillators) in the United States, but CPR is something so simple and the reality is that so few people are actually trained on how to do CPR properly.”