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Hawaii students receive life-saving training: ‘I’ll be ready’

MILILANI, Hawaii (KHON2) — Teaching local students how to save lives is the goal of a new pilot program in Hawaii public schools by instructing keiki how to perform CPR and properly use AED machines.

Tenth-graders at Mililani High School are the first in the state to receive the training for CPR and AED machines through the pilot. The Hawaii Heart Foundation executive director said it is long overdue since there are over 1,000 cardiac arrests on Oahu every year.

“We have a 30% bystander CPR rate, meaning that 70% will not get compressions before fire arrives. Ask any firefighter you know, ‘Was somebody doing CPR when you arrived?’ ‘No.’ And so we end up with a 10% survival rate,” HHF executive director Pam Foster said.

The acronym CPR takes on a new meaning in the cardiac arrest response training:

  • Call — One person gets in touch with 911.
  • Push — A second person starts chest compressions.
  • Respond — A third person retrieves an AED.

“I always tell my students like, ‘When you learn things, don’t just learn it for the day. Try to store it in your brain, that way it’s a lifelong thing.’ Right? And I’m really hoping that this is one of the lessons that students will be able to retain,” Mililani High School 10th grade health teacher Micah Turell said.

“We want to be sure we touch as many students as possible here at Mililani High School., as well as other public schools throughout the state.”

Keith Hayashi, Hawaii Department of Education superintendent

Some dummies are equipped with silver placeholders to show students where to apply the AED — the children are told that there will not be placeholders in a real-world situation and the theory is that they will be ready for a real emergency by being exposed to this training in a classroom environment.

“I am actually,” 10th grader Colton Shinagawa said, “now I feel like whenever, if something happens in front of me, I’ll be ready.”

“I would like to see other schools do this because I thought this was pretty fun,” 10th grader Dakin Saraos said.

The State superintendent even got down on all fours and said the program is about making students globally competitive and locally committed.

“This is part of that local commitment, you know, being able to have those skills, that knowledge,” Hawaii Department of Education superintendent Keith Hayashi said, “to able to make a difference in the lives of others.”

The program is being funded through the State Legislature and will be in place at Mililani and Waialua high schools by the end of the 2023-2024 school year, with more campuses planned in the future.