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Marin Voice: A Seventh-Grader May Come To Your Rescue

A seventh-grader may come to your rescue

While it is well known that cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) saves lives, don’t be surprised if a seventh-grader comes to your aid in a time of need.

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States, resulting in more deaths each year than chronic respiratory diseases, strokes, unintentional injuries, diabetes and influenza combined.

When a person collapses in sudden cardiac arrest, the importance of immediate response with CPR and defibrillation can make a difference in life or death. For every minute without circulating blood, a heart attack victim’s chance of survival decreases by 7 to 10 percent, and chances of making a full recovery after cardiac arrest decline even faster.

And, while we benefit from an outstanding paramedic and emergency medical system in Marin, it can always be better.

In San Rafael for the second half of 2016, the survival-to-hospital discharge after cardiac arrest was reported at 66 percent, which is excellent, well above the national average.

With the goal of improving sudden cardiac arrest in Marin, last year members of the San Rafael Fire Department initiated training of seventh-grade students on how to effectively administer hands-only CPR. It has been proven that seventh-graders are a powerful target audience for emergency first aid training who are willing to get involved.

Seventh-graders also possess both the cognitive and physical ability to administer effective CPR chest compressions.

San Rafael Fire Department staff piloted this life-saving program with support of the Marin County Fire Chiefs, Marin County Office of Education, local middle schools, Marin County Emergency Medical Services Agency, Marin County law enforcement and area hospitals.

Sonoma and Alameda counties, as well as several school districts nationwide, have had tremendous success with similar programs. In Sonoma alone, there have been multiple saves, two being from seventh-graders who provided aid to their parents

Our goal locally is to incorporate hands-only CPR into the physical education/first aid curriculum in all of the seventh-grade classes in Marin County. The teachers will be given the materials to teach and the local fire/EMS providers will help teach and proctor the hands-only CPR classes.

Hands-only CPR is easy to teach and, with the assistance of firefighters, can be completed in one class period, training 30 or more students.

Our goal is to train all the seventh-graders in Marin annually. It is a simple and effective program that in a few short years will train thousands of kids who will be in a unique position to help others.

To bolster our life-saving efforts, Mary Jane Burke, Marin County superintendent of schools, helped us secure grant funding through the California Endowment, with assistance from longtime Marin educator Walt Buster.

Another important measure was passed last year to further save lives when Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law AB 1719, a law that requires hands-on CPR instruction in high school health classes.

High schools statewide that are not already teaching CPR (many in Marin already do) will begin doing so in the 2018-19 school year.

If you want to learn hands-only CPR, the Marin County Emergency Medical Services Agency — ems.marinhhs.org — will present the annual CPR training event on June 10 at locations all across Marin. Citizens are urged to take advantage of this free training opportunity to learn hands-only CPR and how to “Stop the Bleed.” The life saved may be your own.

Story Credit: http://www.marinij.com/opinion/20170527/marin-voice-a-seventh-grader-may-come-to-your-rescue