CPR training

Sharpsville eighth-grade students, from left, Brad Garrett, Carissa Vadala, Jordan Pendel and Jordan Sherman practice their CPR techniques with some help from McGonigle EMT Jared Grandy at a training session Monday at Sharpsville Middle School.

Sharpsville eighth-grader Jamie Vamosi high-fived emergency medical technician Jared Grandy after she successfully performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on a dummy Monday morning in the middle school gymnasium.

“There you go!” said Grandy, an EMT with McGonigle’s Ambulance, Sharon, and a 2007 Sharpsville graduate.

Jamie was one dozens of youth who got a crash course in how to do chest compressions correctly on an adult and child and how to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as well as what to do if someone’s choking.

Gary Jamison, a registered nurse who works for Pennsylvania Department of Health, trained Sharpsville Middle School eighth graders Monday in American Heart Association program CPR Anytime.

The department is trying to train as many people as they can with the goal of 60,000 Mercer Countians knowing how to do CPR and the Heimlich maneuver within three years, he said.

“You will have to do this. It happens,” Jamison told the youth. “The more people that know how to do CPR in our county, the safer our county is.”

Brad Garrett was leader of a team of students, as he had already trained through the National Junior Honor Society.

“Even if you’re never going to use it,” Brad said the skills were a good thing to have.

He said that teaching younger people was good because they’d know the procedure their whole life.

Jamison said health officials have been trying to get people to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation for years, but often people are hesitant.

They’re afraid they’ll hurt someone, afraid they’ll be sued or they don’t want to take the time to learn or do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on a stranger, he said.

The majority of sudden cardiac arrests happens at home so “this could be a loved one” whose life you save, Jamison said.

He said that when someone is in distress those around often go into shock. He told the children that they’ve got to take control of the situation and do their best to help.

“You’re a crucial part of this team right now,” Jamison told the kids.

Jamison said that the ambulance arrival time in the Shenango Valley is within seven minutes, so being able to do CPR before EMTs get there can truly save a life. If someone is in trouble, he stressed the importance of calling 911 immediately.

Each student got a kit to take home that included a “manikin” to practice on, a DVD and reminder cards to help with the skills.

The blow-up head and torsos the kids practiced on made a clicking noise to let them know they were pressing hard enough and to help them get a feel for how to do CPR on a real person.

Jamison told the kids not to go too fast when they’re doing compressions. He said the rhythm should be about 100 beats per minute, which is the same as the beat in the Bee Gees hit “Stayin’ Alive.”

Five cycles of two breaths and 30 compressions takes about two minutes, he said. But “time equals brain cells,” so the longer a person is without oxygen the worse off they could be, he said.

The key to the CPR Anytime program is that each child is to teach at least five people.

“Train everyone in your family, your friends, your neighbors,” Jamison told them.

The first school to participate in the program last year was Reynolds and they’re doing it again this year, Jamison said. Students at Farrell have also been trained and they’re looking to do more sessions.

“I think they should keep doing it,” Brad said of the program. “Let’s make sure we’re the first of many schools.”

More than 160 students will be trained Wednesday and Thursday at Delahunty Middle School, Hermitage.

For more information about the program, contact the Department of Health’s office in Jackson Center at 724-662-6068.

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