BELLAIRE, Ohio — Students at Bellaire Middle School received hands-on CPR training on Tuesday, thanks to a generous grant from the EQT Foundation.
Members of the American Heart Association showed students the technique, explaining how crucial it is to continue compressions until the person can breathe.
"Tap them on the shoulder, say you call 911 and you get the AED, then start compressions,” said seventh-grader Janyah Johnson. "I learned where you have to place your hands and how hard you have to press down.”
The hope is that the students can take what they've learned and educate their family and friends.
"There's too many people - over 380,000 people each year suffer cardiac arrests outside of the hospital, and unfortunately, a lot of them don’t survive due to the fact that no one steps in and administers CPR,” said Sonya Vezmar, community CPR manager for the American Heart Association.
The training is made possible by the EQT Foundation, which has been involved with the American Heart Association's “Have A Heart, Save A Life” program for 11 years.
This year, the foundation awarded a grant of nearly $25,000 to train students in Belmont and Monroe counties, as well as supply “CPR Anytime” kits.
"We started the program in our rural operational area because if somebody has a heart episode and drops, in some rural areas it can take up to 45 minutes for EMS crews to arrive, so we want to teach middle school students this skill of CPR and then they'll go home and teach their friends and their neighbors,” said Ellen Rossi, EQT Foundation manager.
It's a lifesaving skill that can be taught in less than 20 minutes, and students in Belmont and Monroe counties will all be learning it soon.