Firefighters, paramedics on quest to teach students CPR

Firefighters, paramedics on quest to teach students CPR

Firefighters, paramedics on quest to teach students CPR
Students at Mt. Diablo High learn proper Hands Only CPR techinque from American Medical Response paramedics during an hour-long class Jan. 24. The sessions are part of a county-wide initative to train 10,000 students. The training can be directly linked to doubling the survival rate of heart attack victims in other areas of the country. (Photo Tamara Steiner)

MDUSD high school students may be one key to doubling the survival rate of heart attack victims.

Contra Costa County Fire Protection District firefighters and American Medical Response paramedics are on a mission to train 10,000 high school students countywide how to do Hands-Only CPR. So far, this academic year, an estimated 2000 students have completed the hour-long training.

Firefighters and paramedics in teams of two and three meet with small groups of students, each with their own mannequin. Students learn where to apply chest compression and how fast to repeat as team leaders count off the rhythm. The key is to move fast,” AMR paramedic Anna Cleese explained to the students.

“Every minute a sudden cardiac victim goes without CPR, their chances of survival drop by 8-10 percent.”

The seniors are loving the fast moving, interactive session, said Con Fire Public Information Officer, Steve Hill.

At Mt. Diablo High, one senior was overheard entering the gym, “We’re going to learn how to save a life today.”

The students were focused and serious in their small groups, intent on getting it right.

At the end of the class, students receive a certificate of completion.

The program is modeled after a similar one in Kings County, Washington, where the training is mandatory.

“Seattle has doubled the survival rate for sudden cardiac victims,” Hill said.

When the CPR sessions were complete, students regrouped for additional instruction on how to apply a tourniquet and other first aid responses.

The program trains an average of 500 students per day in several sessions. So far, students at Mt. Diablo High, Ygnacio Valley High and Concord High have completed the training.

For more information on the Con Fire-AMR training, contact Steve Hill, 925.941.3000 x 1203. Or email