Public News Service by John Michaelson, Public News Service-ND
(03/10/14) BISMARCK, N.D. - Two North Dakota schools are being recognized for their efforts to lead the way in creating the next generation of life savers. Funding for CPR and AED training in schools was approved by lawmakers last year, and now two have become the first to earn the CPR Smart School designation by requiring the class before graduation.
One is Central Valley Public School, Buxton, where Jeremy Brandt is superintendent.
"About 90 percent of heart attacks, etc., occur in the home," Brandt said, "so this is a life skill that we hope the kids after the training will keep up on, will remember, because you never know when it's your turn to step in and help save a life."
The other school recognized by the American Heart Association as CPR Smart is Lamoure Public School.
Dawn Schmitt is a high school science teacher at Lamoure, as well as an EMS provider and a CPR instructor. She said having as many people as possible who know CPR is especially important in a rural state like North Dakota.
"Many of these kids are living on farms and that's a ways away from where the local ambulance service is," Schmitt said. "If they're there with a parent or someone else and something happens, if they have these skills, they'll be able to help someone."
For schools that are considering taking advantage of the funds and adding CPR training into their curriculum, Brandt explained that one of the keys is to work with trusted community connections.
"Speak with your local hospital, your local health agencies, and they can get you on the right track," Brandt advised. "The paperwork is a very minimal thing: a policy statement that needs to get passed through your local school board. All those steps were really painless."
Brandt said bystander CPR can double or even triple victim survival rates, but fewer than one-third receive it.
More information about the CPR in schools program is available at the American Heart Association of North Dakota website, www.heart.org.