Valley Children's teams up with the American Heart Association to give kids lifesaving skills

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Valley Children's donated four CPR in-school kits to train the next generation of lifesavers, and a few 7th-graders at Awhannee Middle School some of the first to learn skills that may save a life. (KFSN)

Seventh graders at Awhannee Middle School got hands-on training in hands-only CPR.

Valley Children's donated four CPR in-school kits to train the next generation of lifesavers.

"We know that this is a lifesaving skill and the majority of people don't know how to use it, unfortunately," Mary-Jo Quintero with the hospital said.

Many were surprised at what it takes.

"It's very hard," student Cassandra Delara exclaimed.

"I thought it was going to be soft and easy, but it took a lot of pressure," student Leslie Cervantes added.

But the challenge proved encouraging for Leslie.

"If someone's in danger, I know I can do something to help their life," she said.

"Just doing the proper compressions and calling 911 is good enough to keep that person alive until an EMT arrives," Michael Deitch with the American Heart Association said.

This is the first year Valley Children's and the American Heart Association have teamed up for this endeavor.

"There are around 400,000 sudden cardiac arrest deaths a year outside of the hospital," he said.

Eighty percent of those are inside the home, according to the AHA. Deitch says that means students could likely be first responders.

"Push hard and fast to the center of the chest to 100 to 120 beats per minute," he said.

Each student took turns practicing compressions on the CPR mannequins. Learning timing is everything.

"Within two to three minutes of no oxygen going to the brain, brain damage will occur," Quintero explained. "In eight to ten minutes, biological death occurs to the brain."

Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 1719 into law last September, making California the 35th state to provide CPR training in schools.

It means come 2018, a majority of high school students throughout the state will get this same lesson before graduation.
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