LIHUE — Saving a person’s life isn’t up to an adult.
With basic CPR and AED training, any keiki on Kauai will be able to save a loved one or friend’s life.
For the past year, the Kauai Fire Department has been going into Kauai’s public schools and teaching students the importance of hands-only CPR and AED training. Even something as small as starting compressions can make all the difference when it comes to life or death.
“For me, it’s a valuable life skill; not just a skill you learn in school,” said Kilipaki Vaughn, deputy fire chief. “When you live in a place like Kauai that has multiple generations living in the same household and the children and grandchildren know how to do CPR, that just makes the survival rate that much greater because they are the first-responders.”
Last year, Vaughn, along with firefighter Justin Shinn, taught 1,759 students and 453 faculty hands-only CPR and AED training.
“The best systems that have the highest number of saved lives, have the best community-based CPR programs,” Shinn told The Garden Island. “We’ve been trying to do community-based CPR training the last few years, targeting the schools and the young kids and trying to get them familiar doing CPR and AED training by the time they graduate.”
The support from the DOE, particularly the push for safety training by Complex-Area Superintendent Bill Arakaki, has allowed firefighters inside schools to help save lives, Shinn said.
“Mr. Arakaki and the school’s staff have been very welcoming to us and very supportive of our program,” he said.
Instructing students how to properly administer CPR is a “great program to bring awareness about heart attack situations and saving a life,” Arakaki said.
It’s a sentiment echoed by Danielle Doo, district school health nurse.
“Students are going home and relaying the message to their parents, which is to start compressions immediately at the right rate and depth,” Doo said. “Oftentimes, students or children are the ones in the position to provide immediate life saving measures, such as in the school setting with their teachers or in the home with their parents or grandparents.”
The age of a first-responder doesn’t matter when someone is having a cardiac arrest. If first-responders act quickly, then it makes the jobs of Kauai’s firefighters and emergency service professionals easier.
“Our main goal is to increase saved lives on Kauai,” Shinn said.