Middle school students empowered to learn CPR

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - This is the first time Surock Brown, 14, has ever gone through the motions of CPR. On this day, he is being trained along with his classmates at Pine Middle School on what to do if someone nearby needs to be resuscitated.

"I think this really helped me out," says Brown.

The hands-only CPR training is made possible because of "CPR in Schools" kits. Over the last few years, the American Heart Association made it a priority to get the kits into every middle and high school in the Washoe County School District.

Now, thanks to funds raised by the Nevada Fire Chiefs Association and Nevada Project Heartbeat, they're able to get even more of these kits into middle schools like Pine. It's going to allow more middle school teachers an easier opportunity to offer the training if they want. Experts say even though Assembly Bill 85 requires all Nevada students to be trained in CPR to graduate, there's no need to wait until high school to teach them the life-saving skill.

"Middle schoolers are great sponges to learn this skill," says Karen Rudd, Executive Director of American Heart Association Northern Nevada. "American Heart Association knows by studies that 7th and 8th graders are willing to act. They're willing to jump in and they're also willing to share their information."

Julie Redding, President of Nevada Heartbeat, agrees.

"It's important to start the training at an early age when the students are willing and able to bring this into their lives as an important life skill," says Redding. "The earlier we train them, the more likely it is they're going to carry it with them and enable others to get trained, so it increases our pool of responders in our communities."

Rollins Stallworth, Director of Athletics and Activities for the Washoe County School District, says high school students in the district are taught during health class. But middle schools that offer the training have more flexibility.

"Some teach it in their PE classes, others teach it in their advisories," says Stallworth. "They have the flexibility to do that."

He points out that if a student is taught CPR in middle school, they still have to have the training in high school.

Surock Brown says he's glad he got his training in earlier than high school.

"I can tell other people, I can show them how to do CPR," he says.