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Monfredo: CPR Training In Our Schools To Become A Reality

Sunday, May 08, 2016


“The most common reason many people die from cardiac arrest is because no one nearby knew CPR, or if they did know it, they didn't actually do it. “– Michael Sayre

Teaching our students from grades 7-12  lifesaving skills of CPR will put thousands of qualified lifesavers in our community, year after year.  It was made possible thanks to the following donors in the Worcester Community…  Elinor Lamberton, Richard and Kathleen Perry, Ann Day and Donna Enberg and the following groups Ryan P. Quinn Memorial Golf Tournament, Spectrum Health Services, UMASS Medical School, Worcester County Sheriff’s Association, Inc., Worcester Educational Development Foundation, Worcester District Medical Society, Hanover Insurance Group, CVS Health, and the Greater Worcester Community Foundation.   In addition, I also like to thank the Worcester Public Schools for the seed money to get the program started. 

Several months ago I met and put together a small committee composed of Carol Manning our Health and Physical Education Liaison, Deborah McGovern our director of School Nurses and Patricia Mallios from the American Heart Association. Being passionate about the need to have our students involved in CPR program we ventured for with a campaign.   Our goal was to have every child in grades 7 to 12 receive training every year in CPR Hands Only come September of 2016.  With over 10,000 students needing to be trained we sought funding for mannequins and AED kits at all secondary schools. The students will be trained in their physical education classes… a subject that all children have to take by law.  The beauty about our program was if we raised the necessary funds the program will be self sustaining each and every year.  I felt that this was a win-win situation for our community if we could raise the needed funds.

Needless to say, the community stepped up and we not only have reached our goal but we have additional funding left to purchase equipment if  some break down.    From a teaching point there is nowhere better to teach these skills than in the schools, and as far as learning goes there is no better age than school age to start learning basic life support skills. Students are easily motivated to learn these skills and are generally easier to teach than adults according to research. 

 Thanks to a grant several years ago through the efforts of then Public Health Commissioner Dr. Leonard Morse, our physical education teachers were CPR trained and now the American Heart Association will train others who need the instruction.

Heart attack statistics are staggering for over 1.5 million heart attacks occur in the United States each year with 500,000 deaths occurring.  About 50% of deaths occur within one hour of the heart attack, outside a hospital.  So perhaps we as a community can do something about it for we all know that CPR is part of the emergency cardiac care system designed to save lives.  Training our students may be the most valuable lesson they can learn for students will learn how to save a life of a loved one, a teacher, or friend by performing the simple steps of CPR and knowing what to do in this emergency.  Needless to say it can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.

In addition, I hope that we can then send some of our trained students into the community to teach CPR HANDS ON as a community service project at churches, Boys and Girls Club, and other social agencies.  Also, students who baby sit will have that experience in case there is an emergency at home.

The Worcester Public Schools Health Advisory Council also approved the wellness language to be added on to our school policy.  “Beginning this school year, 2016-2017, all Worcester Public School students in grades 7 through 12 will receive instruction in hands – only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of external automated defibrillator (AED).  The training will incorporate the psychomotor skills and higher – level thinking necessary to perform CPR and use of AED.  Training will take place during the student’s physical education class, a required course for all students.”

Worcester is the second largest city in New England and we need to train our students to be CPR trained bystanders in our community. In a few years can you image the number of CPR bystanders in our community?  Hopefully, this project will turn Worcester into a Heart Safe City and thanks to the many donors we will do it!


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