You could tell Thursday morning that eighth-graders at 1-R School have been properly trained in how to save a life.

Before they demonstrated how to administer CPR on mannequins, the six students called out and tapped the mannequins to see if they were responsive. Several of the students then asked someone to call 911, which is exactly the way you’re supposed to do it.

The students were demonstrating the use of a CPR in Schools Training Kit recently donated to the Northwest Public Schools. The kit is designed to help teach students how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

All six students who gave the demonstration on Thursday said they felt ready to help someone who suffers cardiac arrest. Physical education and health teacher Brian Sybrandts said the students were excited about learning CPR. He plans to keep working with the young people to make sure they’re ready if somebody needs help.

The kit was provided as part of the American Heart Association’s CPR in Schools initiative, with funding provided by CHI Health St. Francis.

Five schools in the Northwest Public Schools will share the kit. It will be used to train students at Cedar Hollow, St. Libory, Chapman and Northwest High School, as well as 1-R.

The students aren’t learning just how to react to cardiac arrest. They’ve also learned how to dislodge “something from a choking child,” said Collin Quandt, one of the eighth-graders who did the demonstration on Thursday.

Michelle Carlson of Grand Island, who works for the American Heart Association, told the students that some of the money raised through fundraisers such as Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart goes to research. As a result, the heart association determined that it would be smart to teach more students CPR.

In an average hour, 38 people suffer cardiac arrest in the United States, Carlson said.

Eighty percent of all cardiac arrest cases occur outside of a hospital setting, said heart association employee Jennifer Thompson, who lives in Colby, Kan.

“When that happens, there is only about a 7 percent survival rate,” Thompson said in an interview. “If CPR is introduced, the survival rate can double or even triple.”

Matt Fisher, superintendent of Northwest Public Schools, said all of the district’s teachers are trained in CPR “because we think it’s a critical skill.”

Dan McElligott, president of CHI Health St. Francis, said CPR in Schools is a valuable program. By learning how to perform CPR, he said, the students may be able to save the life of a family member, friend or neighbor.

Steve Retzlaff, 1-R principal, said it’s exciting to know the students will possess such a valuable skill the rest of their lives.

At Thursday’s demonstration, the students applied both adult and child CPR. With adult CPR, people are taught to apply compression until paramedics arrive. CPR administered to a child consists of three sets of 30 compressions plus two breaths applied mouth to mouth.

Eighth-graders started using the kit a couple of weeks ago in health class. Seventh-graders will learn CPR next quarter, with sixth-graders getting the lesson next year.

Each training kit has a retail value of $700, Carlson said. CHI Health St. Francis contributed $5,000 to the American Heart Association. Besides paying for the training kit, the CHI money will go toward other heart association efforts, Carlson said.

Each training kit includes 10 inflatable mannequins, 10 kneeling mats, an air pump, 10 DVDs, a lesson plan and other materials.

Northwest is one of the first three districts in the state to receive CPR in Schools Training Kits. The others are Central Valley and Lexington.

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I am the Cops & Courts Reporter for the Grand Island Independent. I welcome news tips!

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