NEPA students now learning life-saving skill in classroom

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NANTICOKE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — It’s graduation season and in Pennsylvania that means more than students making the grade to receive their diplomas.

Thanks to one of the commonwealth’s newer laws, high schools must teach CPR before seniors can graduate.

The American Heart Association has been behind this push to make CPR part of the school curriculum. Now, a local health system has partnered with the AHA to help students learn what could be a life-saving lesson.

The show and tell by American Heart Association of NEPA Executive Director Amy Skiba aims to groom the next generation of heartsavers.

To the beat of the song “Stayin’ Alive“, Skiba is teaching some Greater Nanticoke Area High School students how to do hands-only CPR. The AHA recommends the no-breath, compression-only method if you encounter someone who’s suffered sudden cardiac arrest.

“That right there will keep someone’s blood flowing until EMS gets there and will most likely keep them alive,” Skiba said.

Allied Services partnered with the American Heart Association to donate kits which include 10 inflatable mannequins, training DVDs and other essential materials.

“We’re as focused as ever before about getting these training kits and supporting school districts in our region so that children do learn the importance of hands-only training to save lives,” Allied Services vice president of strategic partnership development Jim Brogna said.

The high schoolers training in this group are all student athletes.

“In my arms and in my wrists I felt it the most. Like, like not really sharp pain but kind of like soreness after awhile I felt,” sophomore Justin Spencer said.

“It was hard, like, trying to keep your breath. You get out of breath really fast but it’s good to know because you can save lives with it,” freshman Alyssa Rakowski said.

The American Heart Association says 90 percent of sudden cardiac arrests suffered outside of a hospital end in death, most often because someone didn’t learn what junior Myla Vnuk just did.

“It really taught me where to place my hands on the body and, like, the timing and all that and when to really use this in life,” Vnuk said.

“The more people that we have that are trained that are able to do CPR the better it will be for everybody,” Greater Nanticoke Area School District Superintendent Dr. Ronald Grevera said.

The CPR in-school training kits cost $700. Allied Services donated the kits to several schools in Luzerne, Lackawanna and Wyoming Counties.

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