Tug Valley ARH Trains Students in Lifesaving Skills


Students have been taught to call 911 when there’s an emergency, but how many of them could provide CPR to an individual while help was on the way? In mid-October Tug Valley Regional Medical Center took the lead in training students in lifesaving skills at Belfry Middle School.

“Once Senate Bill 33 was passed into law mandating that students be trained in CPR before graduating high school, we reached out to Principal Jeremy Howard to discuss training seventh and eighth grade students at Belfry Middle School,” stated Tim Hatfield, Tug Valley ARH Community CEO.

Gina Lester, Tug Valley ARH Education Coordinator, developed a comprehensive CPR class to prepare students for unexpected emergencies.

“Although this one-hour class does not provide CPR certification, students learn basic CPR, AED (automated external defibrillation) as well as what to do should they see someone collapse from choking,” said Lester. “So far the students are absorbing what they are being taught like ‘sponges.’”

According to Lester, each CPR class has around 25 students. After each student learns CPR, Lester discusses real-life scenarios and answers all their questions.

“Students bombard me with lots of questions about what to do in certain situations,” explained Lester. “They understand that in many instances what is done in those first few minutes can determine whether a person lives or dies.  Calling 911 is the first step, and with most students having access to a phone these days, that’s an easy task.  The 911 dispatcher then can guide the student in the lifesaving measures they learned in my class.”

Belfry Middle School Science teacher Stephanie May appreciates all that Lester is doing for her students.  “Children do not have the same preconceived notions as adults, so starting them early with lifesaving techniques will benefit them in the present as well as the future,” shared May. “Teaching students CPR not only helps them with lifesaving measures within their own homes and communities, but it will provide them with skills that may be necessary for their future.  We are blessed to have Appalachian Regional Healthcare within our community helping educate our youth.”

Principal Howard agrees with May that the CPR class is a first step in learning life skills to prepare students for a variety of unexpected situations.  “As principal, it’s my responsibility to ensure each and every child has the textual knowledge and skills in an ever more challenging world,” stated Howard.  “Without the help of our partners at ARH, preparing our students with the necessary life skills they’ll need in the future would be next to impossible. The team at ARH is vital to the holistic education of the Belfry area youth, and we consider ourselves fortunate to have people like Tim Hatfield, Dr. Chad Fite, Gina Lester and so many more in our corner.”

Lester also has been holding CPR classes at Phelps High School. If other schools are interested in the CPR class, please call Lester at 606.237.1700, Ext. 1015. Lester conducts all facets of the training, so no school personnel are required to assist with the CPR class.

Photo cutline:
Haley Hatfield performs CPR during a seventh grade class at Belfry Middle School.

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