More than 500 Hewlett High School juniors and seniors received training in cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and in use of an automated external defibrillator last week and part of this week as part of a new district initiative.
Students who completed the training provided by Baldwin-based Safe Health Educators received a certification card from the American Heart Association. The organization provides safety training to individuals, schools and business.
The cost of $25 per student (a total of just less than $13,000) included the training session, equipment and materials, and the certification card.
Jeff Malis, the district’s director of physical education and athletics, said such training was considered for several years, and now it was implemented. “It came to me through several avenues,” Malis said. “Then Dr. [Jonathan] Altus from the school board brought it to my attention. The Board of Education supported this program, covering the cost of training.”
Richard Rattan, a Safe Health Educators instructor, said its high school program began last year. “This is a new program for the high school because we’re teaching them how to do everything on adults, children and infants,” he said. “The program before only covered how to assist adults.”
According to the American Heart Association, someone who administers CPR to a cardiac arrest (heart stops pumping blood) victim can triple the victim’s chances of survival. With 88 percent of those incidents happening at home, the likelihood the person administering CPR is a family member or friend. Nearly 383,000 sudden cardiac arrests occur annually outside of a hospital.
Schools are excellent places to offer CPR training for several reasons, Rattan said. “Kids go on to become babysitters and lifeguards, and this helps them with their work,” he said. “This is also useful in working with the elderly, and even in schools. This is important information for them to learn, so they’ll know how to act quickly in an emergency situation.”
Hewlett High senior Cory Golden said he has learned a lot about how to help someone in cardiac arrest. “I will remember all of the steps I need to help save a life,” he said. “I’ll tell people three things: call 911, get an AED, and come back with help.”
Rose Generoso, a senior, said the course has prepared her for the future. “Just in case, it’s important to take a CPR course,” she said. “You never know what will happen. You will have some idea how to help someone.”
Which is what junior Samantha Illanes understands having seen how valuable this training can be. “Everything I’ve learned here, I could have used a year ago, in a situation I had,” she said. “My mother was choking. I didn’t know how to help her, but my brother saved her.”