KAPAA — Surrounded by new CPR mannequins from the American Heart Association, Kapaa High School sophomore Tyren Nakamura-Palacio had a question.
The health class was learning hands-only CPR from Mike Deitch, community CPR manager for the Western States, on kits supplied to the school through a grant from The Antone and Edene Vidinha Charitable Trust.
“You have to check for a pulse first, right,” Nakamura-Palacio said from the back of the classroom.
“Not anymore, it takes too much time,” Deitch said. “If the person isn’t responding to you, they probably need CPR.”
He threw a few more questions into the classroom, asking the students whether it’s OK to hurt someone while doing CPR.
“It could happen,” said Cody Makepa, another sophomore.
“If you hear a rib breaking, you’re doing it correctly,” Deitch said.
Deitch presented a 15-minute video to the class that demonstrated the techniques and steps for hands-only CPR to sophomores at Kapaa High School on Friday afternoon, using the new training kits.
The kits come with inflatable AHA adult CPR training mannequins, and each student had one for practicing when it came time to try the techniques in the video.
It wasn’t the first time these students have had CPR training. Students are trained by local emergency responders as freshmen, but having a refresher course and enough training materials to go around will help keep them sharp.
“With these (AHA training kits) I’ve got enough for the whole class, everyone gets one,” said teacher Sara O’Rourke.
Deitch also visited Waimea High School Friday, training students to put on the presentations themselves.
It’s part of AHA’s long-term goal of Department of Education policy directing CPR training for high school students.
“Right now it’s optional, so the teachers decide if they want to do it,” he said. “But with this program, you don’t have to be CPR certified to teach it, so you can have students teaching each other.”
Giving students lifesaving skills is the obvious benefit of the training kits and program, he pointed out, but through the years Deitch has seen other benefits from bringing CPR training to classrooms.
“You see a lightbulb that goes off and the kid starts thinking about a career in medicine. Plus it’s great for increasing self-esteem and empowerment, it’s good on a resume and good for community spirit,” he said.
Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or at firstname.lastname@example.org