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Kutztown High School gym classes for all grades devoted to learning CPR

By Dan Clark, For Journal Register News Service

Monday, February 25, 2013

The entire Kutztown High School student population received hands only CPR and AED instruction for the first time during gym class last week.
“This is an awesome opportunity for students to learn how to save a life,” said Kutztown School District NurseBrenda Loeb RN, CSN, M.ED.
Kutztown High School students learned what the American Heart Association is calling hands only CPR, receiving training from Reading Hospital instructors.
A part of the American Heart Association’s goal is to work with local hospitals and the Eastern Regional Council to teach the new technique of CPR to students all across Pennsylvania. All of the Kutztown High School students, grades 9 to 12, learned the hands only CPR during their 45 minute physical education class on Feb. 19 and Feb. 20.The AHA has mostly been targeting the lesson toward high school seniors, however Loeb insisted that all of the high school students learn the hands only CPR.
Reading Hospital nurse educator Kim Dobson said the training in schools has been a positive experience and that it is important that students learn this skill.
“By the time the ambulance gets there, it is too late to do anything,” Dobson said.
She hoped that this training will give the students the confidence to act should the occasion arise.
Kutztown senior Kennedy Miller said that her only experience with CPR was in a babysitting course she took a few years ago, but she’s learned a lot more from the 45 minute gym class hosted by the Reading Hospital.
“A lot more kids need to learn to do this,” Miller said.
Miller said she found the course to be very helpful and also to be more in depth than other courses about CPR.
Although the students will not be CPR certified, they are now able to perform hands only CPR should they need to.
“If you do anything to help the person who is injured while waiting for the ambulance to come, there is a better chance that the person will live,” Bill Lillington told the class.
The idea of hands only CPR is to not breathe into the victim’s lungs but rather just to pump their chest to try to get the heart moving while waiting for an EMT to arrive.
“We don’t always want to put our mouths on someone else’s mouth because we don’t know where it’s been,” Lillington told the class.
Lillington, a member of the ERC, said that in the past month the Eastern Regional Council has trained 4,000 students in Pennsylvania in hands only CPR and how to properly use an AED.
The Reading Hospital has donated AEDs to first responders and to schools across the area. According to Dobson, a nurse educator for Reading Hospital, 275 AED devices have been donated to police.
The students began the session by watching a short video which explained what hands only CPR is and the proper way to use an AED.
According to physical education teacher, Ed Myers, they found that CPR is such an important topic that it should have its own lesson as opposed to mixing it with other subjects that could be found in a health class.
“By separating it, we’re showing that it is important and something that the students should hold on to,” Myers said.
Myers believes that the American Heart Association has come up with an effective way of getting the information across to people and that the students have responded to it positively.
This is the first time Kutztown High School has made the hands only CPR a part of a lesson, one the school will continue to teach in years to come.