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Hall County seniors learn CPR before graduation
The North Georgia Heart Foundation brought CPR training to local high schools in March. The Georgia General Assembly passed a bill in 2013 that requires CPR be taught in health of physical education courses. Seniors graduating in 2016, though, had not been able to receive that education as freshmen.

For a Georgia resident going into cardiac arrest, the survival rate is about 8 percent unless you’re at a hospital, said North Georgia Heart Foundation Executive Director Daniel Thompson.

“That percentage chance of survival drops 10 percent with each passing minute,” he said.

Officials are working to teach more than 1,000 Hall County seniors hands-only CPR through schoolwide trainings.

“I have no doubt that if a cardiac situation presented itself, they would immediately know to call 911 and start CPR,” Hall County Schools Health Services Coordinator Mamie Coker said.

The effort comes after passage of a bill in the 2013 legislative session that set to “provide instruction in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of an automated external defibrillator to its students as a requirement within existing health or physical education courses.”

“This was something the General Assembly felt very strongly about, knowing that cardiovascular disease in Georgia is the leading killer for men and women of all races and ethnicities and costs the state more than $6 billion a year,” Thompson said.

Current freshmen, sophomores and juniors have already taken the training during health class, but graduating seniors did not have the curriculum during their freshmen classes.

The March 2 session at East Hall High School saw 218 seniors receive training.

“My hope is that this will start a trend at least in schools in North Georgia and schools all over the state to reinforce the importance of hands-only CPR on an annual basis to their students,” Thompson said.

Coker said the training takes the majority of one day, as the students swap out during class periods.

The advised procedure is calling 911 before starting chest compressions. Roughly 200 compressions are suggested before administering a shock from the defibrillator, Thompson said.

An AED is available on every Hall County school campus, with a specific team in place to respond to such emergencies.
Coker said the staff involved with the AED have yearly training and drills to practice for a potential cardiac arrest.

“From the time the victim becomes unresponsive, you want the AED there within a minute and a half,” she said.

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