More than 200 Grantsville Junior High School seventh-graders joined together with members of the American Heart Association and the Grantsville Volunteer Fire Department to learn how to save someone’s life through CPR.
“We had the American Heart Association come in and we brought in about a dozen firefighters and they taught our kids how to give CPR,” said GJHS Principal Charles Mohler.
Each student was given a kit with a training DVD and a mini CPR Annie, a mannequin used to practice CPR. The course and kits were provided by the Utah Medical Association Foundation and American Heart Association through a federal grant. The cost of each kit was around $45.
“We gave each student a mini Annie that they could use,” Mohler said. “It has the chest compression feature and you have to blow air into the mouth just like a regular Annie. The chest has a clicker, so if you hear a click while pressing on the chest, you know you’re doing it correctly.”
Mohler said the 210 students who participated watched the training DVD together and then took breaks to practice on their mannequins. Grantsville firefighters were there to assist students during the practice rounds.
“The kids did a great job,” Mohler said. “They were all just in rhythm with the clicking while doing the chest compressions. The goal is to get 100 beats per minute.”
Although the students won’t receive CPR certification, Mohler said the course was designed to teach them enough that they could confidently perform CPR if needed.
“They learned enough to be able to be a first responder,” he said. “The course gave them basic CPR knowledge.”
After the students gained the skills they needed to perform CPR, they were given a homework assignment to teach CPR to five people.
“We’re trying to affect at least 1,000 people in the Grantsville area with the knowledge of CPR,” Mohler said. “We’ve gotten lots of good input from parents calling in who are excited about it. We’ve lost some people to heart failure in the community, and a first responder has the opportunity to save someone.”
Mohler said because about 80 percent of cardiac arrests that occur outside a hospital happen at home, about 89 percent of those victims don’t survive. He said this is because most of the time people around them don’t step in to perform CPR.
“We can change this sad fact,” he said. “By learning the skills of CPR and passing the kit on to our students’ family members and friends, our students can be more prepared to save a life.”