South Tahoe students receive CPR lessons |

South Tahoe students receive CPR lessons

Isaac Brambila
South Tahoe Middle School seventh grader Eliana Carney practices chest compressions Thursday during a hand-only CPR training at the middle school.
Isaac Brambila/Tahoe Daily Tribune |

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — Eighth-grader Lucas Thornhill tapped the manikin and asked, “Are you OK?” He then looked up and told teacher Dave Alexander, “Call 9-1-1!”

Immediately after, without hesitation, Thornhill began chest compressions on the manikin.

“It’s fun to learn about it,” Thornhill said. “When you’re pushing you eventually find your spot and then it starts clicking.”

The exercise took place Thursday morning at South Tahoe Middle School, where all seventh- and eighth-graders received hands-only CPR training. The students practiced chest compressions on 10 manikins provided to the school from a Ross store donation.

The effort is meant to make the students more comfortable doing something in a life-and-death situation, Alexander said.

“Assuming the seed is planted, and as they mature and get a little older, I think it’s very important at least to know what to do just in case,” Alexander said.

The students are not able to be fully CPR certified until they turn 18, but it is important to provide them with at least some training and knowledge in case an emergency arises, Alexander said.

Every student had the opportunity to practice compressions with the manikin. The manikins make a clicking sound to let the students know when they were doing the compressions correctly.

“Doing something is better than doing nothing,” Alexander told the students.

Alexander repeatedly told the different groups of students he instructed to ask for help, but also to apply chest compressions while they waited for help.

He taught the lesson providing different scenarios. Some involved crowded places where they could enlist the help of an adult or someone else. Others involved being in the middle of the woods with no one else around and no form of communication. For all the scenarios the message was the same: Do everything you can to try to save the person’s life.

“If nothing else, (they are) learning to call for help, not be a part of the problem, not be stepping over someone like you see on newscasts,” Alexander said.

Alexander said that just from asking his students, he discovered very few had any CPR training.

Part of the effort is also aimed to give the students a certain degree of comfort that will give them the confidence to act during a life-and-death situation. In those situations, Alexander said, if the person has absolutely no training he or she is less likely to even attempt to save the person’s life.

“It’s human nature. If you’re not comfortable with something you have a tendency to shy away from it,” he said.

“Hopefully we’re encouraging them to get involved in one way or another. If nothing else, if they see something, just get involved and get help,” he said.

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