Gwinn Middle School students to learn CPR

Critical training

Tianna Taylor, left, and Daylee O’Donnell practice CPR in Angela Micheau’s class at Gwinn Middle School. Gwinn students learned the technique in their health education class. (Photo courtesy of the Superior Health Foundation)

GWINN — Students at Gwinn Middle School had an opportunity to be trained in the American Heart Association’s Family and Friends CPR Program in Angela Micheau’s eighth-grade health education class.

“I have to give a lot of credit to one of our bus drivers, Dave Oysti, for planting the idea. He called the school last year and was very passionate about finding out how to get students trained in CPR,” Micheau said.

Oysti is also an EMT-B working on his paramedic license. This past summer, Micheau researched how to get a project like this funded.

“I submitted a mini-grant request to the Superior Health Foundation and was awarded $2,500 to pay for the curriculum, manikins, AED trainers and supplies,” Micheau said. “I think it was a great idea, and after I did some research on the different curriculums through the AHA, I realized this is a very attainable goal because students don’t have to be certified to know CPR. They just need to be trained properly.”

AED stands for automated external defibrillator.

Micheau plans to train — not earning a CPR/AED card — all her middle school health students in the AHA’s Family and Friends CPR/AED use and severe airway block. She plans on certifying — earning a CPR/AED card — her upper level Health 2 elective students in the AHA’s HeartSaver Program.

While researching, Micheau learned there is a growing trend for states to require CPR training as a graduation requirement.

“Currently, there are 30 states that require students to have CPR training, and some states require CPR training as a graduation requirement,” Micheau said.

In June, CPR legislation — Senate Bill 647 — in Michigan was passed and is now in the Michigan House of Representatives for final approval.

“From what I understand, if this passes, Michigan schools will be required to provide CPR and AED instruction/training to students in the seventh through 12th grade,” Micheau said. “I’m not sure on the specifics yet, but some states require as little as 30 minutes.

“With being a certified CPR instructor myself, I have the basic knowledge and ability to train and certify our students. However, according to the pending legislation, a teacher does not have to be a certified instructor in CPR in order to oversee, facilitate or oversee CPR instruction or training.” The pending legislation states that to certify students in CPR/AED, a teacher doesn’t need to be a certified CPR instructor, she said.

According to Micheau, schools can get help for this instruction from the community EMTs, paramedics, police officers, firefighters, CPR instructors or school employees who are properly trained. Schools will not need to purchase expensive equipment; many communities have manikins for students to practice on and all the supplies needed.

“I hope this becomes law in Michigan,” Micheau said. “The more students we have trained in this basic life-saving skill, the better off we all will be. My first marking period students really enjoyed this unit and they definitely learned a lot. I gave the students a pretest before starting the unit and the average in the class was 32.6 percent, with the post-test being 94.4 percent.”

Said Gabby Wallenslager, an eighth-grade student in Mrs. Micheau’s health class: “I feel like I have learned a lot from this opportunity. Before learning this I thought CPR was just pounding on someone’s chest. This opportunity has indeed taught me what CPR truly is. Now I am quite confident that I would be able to save someone’s life, all thanks to Superior Health Foundation.”

Daylee O’Donnell, another eighth-grade student, said she liked CPR because now the students can help people who are choking and unresponsive. “Although CPR was hard at first, it got easier once I got the hang of it,” O’Donnell said. “We learned a lot more than I expected in such a short amount of time.”

Eighth-grader Tianna Taylor said: “The opportunity I had was cool. Learning CPR could save someone’s life. Mrs. Micheau was nice enough to get a grant for us to learn CPR and help us realize why it’s good to know CPR and the AED and how to save someone who’s choking. We have been taught to save lives for adults, children and infants. That’s pretty cool.”