In time to the Bee Gees’ disco hit “Stayin’ Alive,” which measures 100 beats per minute, Taylors Creek Elementary School staff and fifth graders recently trained in lifesaving “hands-only” CPR.
The Liberty County public school has earned the distinction of being a Heart Safe School. Taylors Creek school nurse Alyssa Lanier and Alison Ellison, the Project S.A.V.E. (Sudden Cardiac Death: Awareness, Vision for Prevention and Education) coordinator from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, conducted the training.
Waldo Pafford Elementary School now has the hands-only kit and soon should be training in CPR as well, according to Lanier.
“I think it’s very empowering for a child to have some knowledge what to do if a loved one suddenly collapse, and children can and have been saving their family members with this program,” she said.
Lanier trained school staff in the summer during the faculty’s pre-planning period, before students returned to the classroom. She said the training took 30-35 minutes.
“The fifth-graders I taught the second week of school during their (physical education) hour and the class took about 25 minutes,” she said. “Waldo Pafford has the kit now, but if principals agree at other schools, the nurse will get the kit and teach it. It really is wonderful, if nothing else but to get people aware that any help is good help and not to be afraid to act when there is an emergency.”
Lanier said she picked up the kit this summer at a Georgia Association of School Nurses conference in Athens. The kit does not cost schools anything, and the program’s CPR training has saved lives, she said.
“Eighty-eight percent of these attacks happen at home, so the person you are saving will most likely be a loved one,” Lanier said.
Inflatable mannequins were used in the training at Taylors Creek Elementary.
“Since we do not teach rescue breathing, we only need a chest to push on. It can be changed from adult to child and will make a clicking sound when the chest has been compressed deep enough,” she said.
According to the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta website, the sudden loss of heart function affects 600-1,000 children and adolescents and 350,000 adults every year in the United States.
Ellison said the Project S.A.V.E. program began nearly 10 years ago to educate school systems about sudden cardiac death. She said the program, which teaches both CPR and AED use (Automated External Defibrillator), so far has saved 17 students and 23 adults.
“We know this is working, because 40 people have been saved in Georgia schools since December of 2007,” Ellison said. She said one of the recent saves was a school nurse who had just trained her staff in CPR.
The hands-only program began loaning schools the kits containing teaching materials and mannequins this past spring.
“We’re thrilled it’s working as well as it is,” she said. “You don’t have to be a CPR instructor to teach it. There is a teaching video with the kit. It’s an easy way to get people trained.”
There are more than 970 Heart Safe Schools in Georgia, according to Ellison.
“Close to 1,300 people across the state have been trained since April,” she said. “AEDs in the community are important and CPR training is important. The Georgia Legislature just passed a bill (mandating) all high-school kids must be taught CPR sometime in the four years before they graduate.”