Merced County Times Newspaper
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Riggs, Atwater High offer students course on CPR training


As a way to both boost public safety as well as enrich the valley’s youth, Atwater High has just completed another year of school-wide, hands-only CPR Training. This special training was led by Greg Peterson, education manager of Riggs, and Raj Mehat, the Atwater High Patient Care instructor, as well as a collection of high school students pursuing the nursing field.

Over two days, every student at Atwater High School took an hour out of their schedule to participate in this valuable and intensive crash course. Throughout the training, students also received comprehensive instruction on proper analysis of a victim and compression skills. Additionally, they were taught how to recognize the signs of a heart attack and stroke, as well as how to respond in emergencies.

“According to the American Heart Association, if someone suffers from sudden cardiac arrests, and we do nothing, they will die,” Peterson said. “If we can remember to call 911 and just do compressions, it raises their chances survival by as much as 40 percent. If we can get an AED – Automatic External Defibrillator — on them in the first 60 seconds, it raises your chances of survival close to 80-90 percent. So, each year we do this to educate the entire population of Atwater High School—and other schools too—to teach them how to do compressions and call 911. Releasing that many people into the community that know how to do compressions has got to make a difference.”

Mehat was also pleased with the training. “It’s all student centered; in the sense of students are doing the signups, they’re doing the teaching, they’re doing the leading. So, I think it went really well.”

She went on to say, “I definitely want to say that getting trained in CPR is super important because cardiac arrest can happen anywhere, anytime. Technically, every 90 seconds somebody goes into cardiac arrest. Currently we are the only school in the district that does school-wide CPR training, meaning we train our entire student population. I always really push students to go home, train siblings, parents, whoever—on how to do hands only CPR. Because again, the more lifesavers that we train, the better. So, I’m super-super grateful that my school allows us to do this training every single year.”

While on the subject of students saving lives, Mehat spoke about the incredible new nursing pathway for Atwater High students, which will give them the opportunity to graduate high school with full CNA certification. Currently, this program is proudly working on its third batch of graduates with CNAs.

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