Reading and writing and how to save a life. Both Georgia and South Carolina high schoolers are required to know CPR before putting on their cap and gown.
“Currently there is an unfunded mandate for Georgia and South Carolina, that all high school seniors have to be trained in hands-only CPR before graduation,” said the executive director for the American Heart Association of Augusta, Kayla Kranenberg.
Some schools have to purchase a CPR kit with budget money, and that can be an expensive price tag.
So, the AHA is stepping in to fill the gap by placing kits in high schools across the River Region.
“The hurdle in Richmond County is, we have so many high schools out there, and thousands of high school students need this training,” explained Adam Kowalczyk. “So to find room to share that equipment is challenging.”
The health and physical education teacher for Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School says now his students will know the actions to take at a time of need.
“You never know it could be a family member or friend,” said Kowalczyk. “You can be just out at the park and see somebody collapse. We want to make sure we are teaching as many students, and impacting as many lives as possible.”
More than 325,000 Americans have a heart attack someplace other than in a hospital every year, and 90 percent of those patients die.
CPR can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival.
“Right now if you go into cardiac arrest outside of a hospital, you only have a six percent chance of surviving that,” said Kranenberg.
The AHA hopes the CPR kit’s effect could extend outside of the classroom and into the community.
“Even though they may not receive the certification, it could be a free opportunity to learn those basic skills that could save somebody’s life,” explained Kowalczyk.
The American Heart Association has donated CPR kits to almost every high school in Aiken County.
The Organization is working to have more kits in all schools in the River Region.