These children say they may be young, but it’s no reason not to learn some basic life-saving techniques.
They say there may be a time they could be called upon to administer CPR to someone having a heart attack, and they want to be prepared.
”Everyone should learn CPR,” said sixth-grader Jaden White. “It could really help someone some day.”
Julia Palmisano, also a sixth-grader, said many adults may not know CPR, so she wants to be ready just in case.
”I could save someone’s life at my young age,” she said.
Sixth-graders at St. Joseph School of All Saints Parish were taught CPR training this year by their school nurse, Ellen Kareores. She is the first full-time nurse St. Joseph has had in years. Students in grades seven and eight will also get the training.
Kareores, a registered nurse, has been teaching CPR to four students at a time during their gym class as a part of the school’s physical education and health program. The American Heart Association program, called “Be The Beat,” focuses on compressions by hand and was approved for use at St. Joseph by Principal Carol Simone and the Rev. Timothy Kearney, pastor of All Saints Church.
”I approached Miss Simone and Father Tim to see if we could start this program and they liked the idea,” Kareores said.
Kareores said the training adheres to guidelines of the American Heart Association’s “CPR Anytime” program designed for school-aged children. Sixth-grade teachers Michael Castano and Brittany Fitzgerald are helping teach the program.
Students are being taught to recognize the signs and symptoms of cardiac arrest emergencies, and how they can take action.
”If anything happened to my parents or siblings at home, I would know what to do,” said sixth-grader Sabrina Spero.
Student Daniel Henrick said the thing he liked best about the class was that “I learned how to save someone’s life.”
Kareores is also teaching students how to administer the Heimlich maneuver in the event someone is choking.
”I feel that I learned a lot,” said student Brianna Cobstabile. “I know the steps to perform CPR and the Heimlich maneuver if I ever need to.”
Kareores said it’s important to empower students to be prepared to respond to life-threatening emergencies such as SCA — sudden cardiac arrest.
Children are also learning how to use an Automated External Defribillator as part of their life-saving training. St. Joseph has one of those devices and is getting a second one through a grant won by sixth-graders who created a video demonstrating their CPR skills.
Kareores said St. Joseph was one of only 20 schools across the U.S. and one of only two schools in Massachusetts to win the grant, which was sponsored by Heartsine Technologies and Parent Heart Watch, a national group working to prevent sudden cardiac arrest in young people. The grant will include a new defribillator for the school’s gymnasium.
Kareores also offered a CPR certification class to parents at St. Joseph, and several signed up for it.
She held the four-hour long class last Saturday and charged adults $40 each. Kareores said the class included CPR, defribillator and choking training.
”Less than one-third of sudden cardiac arrest victims receive immediate CPR from bystanders,” Kareores said. “Through a variety of programs, the American Heart Association is equipping people and communities to act in emergencies and ultimately save lives.”