Mount Airy Middle School eighth-grade students learned Wednesday Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is not only about saving a life, it’s now a requirement for graduation.
The Tuesday recent death of New Garden Friends School junior Josh Level in Greensboro during a basketball game was a reminder cardiac arrest can occur anywhere at any age.
According to information from State Superintendent June St. Clair Atkinson, the October bill ruled successful completion of instruction in CPR must be available to all students with a plan to phase in this as a graduation requirement by 2015.
Mount Airy Middle School Nurse Anita John said CPR has been taught as a part of the eighth-grade Healthful Living curriculum, but the new requirement has influenced local districts to formalize the training with electronic record keeping and verification the skill is routinely being taught.
Northern Hospital Staff Development R.N. Fern Wall, who conducted the workshop Wednesday is also a certified CPR instructor. A total of 148 students participated in the workshop.
“Eighth- and ninth-grade groups are the most fun to do,” said Wall. “They ask questions and they pay attention. I love the way somebody always comes up with something different in questions that really makes me think.” She said she knows of one participant who later went on to be an emergency room physician because the CPR class inspired him.
John credited the school’s partnership with Northern for making opportunities like the workshop possible and said students just being aware of how to react in emergency situations is important.
“One of my favorite places to conduct training is in schools,” added Wall. “I enjoy teaching CPR because it works. You can be the person who saves a life. You can make a difference.” She told the students CPR doubles a victim’s chance of survival from sudden cardiac arrest. She explained other important issues including being sure the accident scene is safe to begin treatment, locating the nearest phone and calling for help.
Another part of the workshop allowed students to become familiar with the automated external defibrillator (AED). One student who had never used an AED was able to use the defibrillator by following the automated instructions. Wall told them an unresponsive victim can look dead and explained how compressions (pushing on an area below the sternum) push or pump blood and carry oxygen to vital organs.
She told the group the goal is to do 100 compressions in a minute at a depth of two inches and to alternate groups of 30 compressions with emergency breathing. Wall said the AED pads have pictures on them to show how to attach them.
“If you can’t do anything else but call for help at 911 and the compressions, that’s making a victim’s chances a lot better of surviving,” said Wall.
Mount Airy Middle School Athletic Director Ricky Vernon said all of the school’s coaches are certified in CPR and most of the school staff also is certified in CPR. He praised the support of Northern Hospital of Surry County, Surry County Emergency Medical Services and Mount Airy Fire and Police departments in helping the school provide training activities.
“We are fortunate to have them at our events. They are nearby and we can’t thank them enough,” said Vernon.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.