By Kami Rieck
Year after year, more than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur across the nation, and a staggering 90 percent of those sufferings result in death.
It wasn’t until 17 years ago that Parkview began donating automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to local high schools around Fort Wayne. This gave two nurses of Concordia Lutheran High School the inspiration to create a program where students could become cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certified.
“We kind of made some notice, and insisted they give us one (AED). We also received donated mannequins through the American Heart Association,” Jane Reff, school nurse, explains the motivation to establish a CPR program.
Laura Ruldolph and Jane Reff, the two founders of the program, attended classes through the American Heart Association, where they became CPR certified, and were enabled to conduct their own CPR classes.
“CPR saves lives, and because this is not a neighborhood school, we’re taking skills out into areas of counties and cities. It’s great to put on job applications and just overall a good life skill,” Reff elaborates.
The four-day program is incorporated in the health and education class, which is a course required to obtain the Indiana Core 40 diploma. Students learn how to perform CPR on adults, children and infants, as well as the Heimlich maneuver, which is used to treat airway obstructions in the upper body. Students not only become more enlightened on different procedures, but also lifelong practical skills.
“They learn what to do in an emergency, which empowers students to respond appropriately in those kinds of situations,” health instructor Andrew Stout expresses.
Students are then required to pass a skills and written test prior to receiving their certificate.
“My favorite part is learning how to use an AED because it’s interesting to see how they work, and I’ve never used one before,” freshman Luke Neuhaus describes. “I hope to be able to help somebody if they ever need it.”