CPR for our High School Seniors

Our CPR instructor Steve Miller told the students that โ€œlearning these skills can be useful for saving someoneโ€™s life if one happens to be present at an emergency, but also because they can be added to a resume and are desirable skills for many professions like his own.โ€

Seniors at the Collegiate Charter School of Lowell can now learn basic lifesaving techniques with a CPR class run through a partnership with PrideStar Trinity EMS that school officials are hoping will serve as a pipeline for more options for emergency medicine education.

Eight of the inaugural CPR class students crouched in pairs around four training mannequins Wednesday morning, on which they demonstrated chest compressions and use of a defibrillator, two lifesaving skills they had been practicing for several weeks prior.

PrideStar Trinity Paramedic Steve Miller told the students that learning these skills can be useful for saving someoneโ€™s life if one happens to be present at an emergency, but also because they can be added to a resume and are desirable skills for many professions like his own.

โ€œWhether you want to go into health care, or law enforcement, or business or engineering โ€ฆ you will always be faced with the potential to have to jump in,โ€ said Miller. โ€œBy doing this class, you have the opportunity to play a key, important, central role in saving someoneโ€™s life.โ€

The class was two weeks of online learning followed by four weeks of physical practice. Miller was filling in for PrideStar Trinity Director of Clinical Services and Education David Green, who was unable to be in Wednesdayโ€™s class session but said in a phone call that the students can now perform CPR,ย  short for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and other lifesaving techniques quite well.

โ€œOpportunities to do CPR for people are few and far between for laypeople. But when it does happen, the person that needs help, needs it critically and emergently. It is nice to have people trained to provide assistance to someone in need,โ€ said Green.

Green said he believes CPR certification should be a graduation requirement for all students in Massachusetts, but it is one of just 10 states in the country that does not have such a requirement. At least oneย billย has been put forward that would bring Massachusetts in line with 40 other states that do have the requirement, but โ€œAn Act requiring instruction in CPR and the use of defibrillators for high school graduationโ€ has remained in the Education Committee without movement since at least October.

Green cited how widely known the technique is to save people from choking, commonly known as the Heimlich maneuver, and said that more people knowing these basic skills can only save more lives in emergencies.

โ€œI have been an EMT and paramedic for 43 years. I have gone on thousands of calls for somebody that is choking. Not one time, personally or professionally, have I ever had to do the Heimlich maneuver,โ€ said Green. โ€œBecause every single time, by the time we get there, somebody else has already done it.โ€

When there is no bystander intervention in a situation like a cardiac arrest, Green said, the survival rate is extremely low.

The eight students in the class Wednesday each had different reasons for wanting to learn CPR, including some who planned on studying nursing or physical therapy, and others who wished to pursue law enforcement.

Yasmine Debrito said she hopes to one day work as a police officer, and having CPR training can be a desirable skill for the job.

โ€œYou never know when youโ€™ll need to use it. People could collapse in the school, or in the street, and you can save those people by learning this,โ€ said Debrito.

Her classmate, DeAndre Rodgers, the Class of 2024 president, said at first he signed up for the class because his friends were doing the same, but as the course went on they began to see the value of the skillset they were learning, especially if he pursues law enforcement as he plans.

โ€œThroughout the course we realized it was actually really good to know for policing, and it does open up other opportunities in other jobs,โ€ said Rodgers.

Collegiate Charter School of Lowell Director Adam Bakr was observing the class session and said the school is trying to emphasize the teaching of โ€œlife skillsโ€ that can be widely applied after they graduate.

โ€œBut it will also open some doors up, whether it be in the health field, or in another direction, just having the kids thinking about the next steps is super important,โ€ said Bakr.

Bakr said the partnership between the school and PrideStar Trinity could soon expand to allow the basic CPR course to serve as a stepping stone for further emergency medicine education for 18-year-old students.

Collegiate Charter School of Lowell spokesperson Casey Crane said there are 30 students requesting to be able to take a future session of the course. With about 10 slots available for each six-week course, Crane said the hope is the next one will begin for students sometime in February.

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