Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation, commonly referred to as CPR, is one of the main elements to survival in cardiac arrest. During cardiac arrest, an electrical malfunction in the heart causes an ineffective-irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that disrupts the flow of blood to the brain, lungs and other vital organs. Once the heart stops beating and the blood flow halts, it only takes a matter of 15 seconds for a person to lose consciousness. If not resuscitated immediately, this can lead to permanent brain damage and in many cases, death.
For almost 20 years the Marco Island Charter Middle School (MICMS) has taught its students the importance of CPR, certifying them in the areas of adult, child and infant CPR, the Heimlich maneuver and even training them on how to use an automated external defibrillator in an emergency setting.
This past week, Marco Island Firefighter Paramedic and Public Education Coordinator Chris Bowden facilitated the certification program to the eighth grade students aiding Cheryl Toth, the physical education teacher. Throughout the progression of MICMS’s spirit week, 141 students successfully completed the course and became certified.
Each year, more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur in the United States. The American Heart Association (AHA) has found that almost 90 percent of people who suffer out of hospital cardiac arrests die. With these numbers being so high, it is never too early to learn CPR.
Toth was instrumental in the creation of the course, which came from her desire to teach children about water safety. She has been the physical education teacher at MICMS since the school’s inception in 1998. She even remembers having taught Bowden when he was in seventhgrade. Toth reckons thousands of students have been certified through the program.
“The program has served to be very beneficial,” said Toth. “Former students actually have came and said ‘I’ve learned CPR and have actually helped and saved a life.’”
CPR, especially if performed in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest, can significantly increase a person’s chance of survival. The AHA has found that in these emergency situations, you will most likely be trying to save the life of someone you love: a child, a spouse, a parent or a friend. It can happen to anyone in a matter of seconds and quick action is crucial.
Bowden began the penultimate CPR class by showing the students videos of people their age suffering from a sudden cardiac arrest. The videos were graphic in nature and emphasized the fact that cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, regardless of age. They also illustrated the importance of early recognition and action.
Bowden says, “The three most crucial survival aspects for someone in cardiac arrest is early recognition, quality CPR and early defibrillation.”
On Friday the students successfully finished the course and became CPR certified.
Firefighter Paramedic and Public Education Coordinator Chris Bowden, Driver Engineer Pat O’Gorman, Firefighter Paramedic Hafid Oliver, and Firefighter Paramedic Heath Nagel facilitated the course.
Chris Bowden is a Marco Island Firefighter/Paramedic as well as the Public Education Coordinator. He has been involved at MICMS for the last three years. Chris can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Marco Island Fire Department offers CPR classes to the public once a month. For more information call 239-389-5040.
The Coastal Breeze News will be premiering a video on Facebook.com/CoastalBreezeNews showcasing the CPR event. Make sure to check it out!