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Idaho Falls schoolchildren get lifesaving lessons

A cardiac arrest can happen without any warning, and what happens in the next few minutes could be a matter of life and death. Students at Alturas International Academy Charter School in Idaho Falls learned tools to better prepare them for situations like this Wednesday.

“We’re starting at a very young age, teaching them the basics of CPR so if they ever find themselves in the situation where they need to do CPR, they know what to do,” said Emergency Medical Services Chief Eric Day, of the Idaho Falls Fire Department.

Kids in the K-8 grades were taught CPR and given automated external defibrillator training after raising funds through a school penny war. Their goal was to raise $1,000 so that they could get the school its first AED. The students raised that and then some. The total amount raised was $1,275.

“We got all of our (school) committee together, and before the (training) began, Eric Day quickly reviewed with us how to do CPR and how to do the AED,” said Amber Walker, an eighth-grader.

The students who got the initial training were able to help teach the younger kids what to do.

“We knew that once we got the AED, not everyone would know how to use it completely,” said Lauren Snyder, an eighth-grader. “We just wanted to make sure that they just knew kind of what it did and how it worked.”

With the help from a few members of the IFFD EMS team, the whole school learned correct steps, compressions and more.

“When someone goes down and you have to call 911 before you get the (AED) out,” said Heston Bingham, a second-grader.

These are tools that kids will be able to carry with them throughout their lives.

“If anybody goes down it’s, like, instantly help will arrive,” Walker said. “We all know how to do CPR, we all know how to work an AED.”

IFFD said it hopes to provide more education and awareness to the community very soon.

“It’s all part of our overarching goal to increase the survivability of cardiac arrest in the community,” Day said.

They will be part of fundraisers that hopefully will make AEDs more available for all.

Not only will Alturas International Academy Charter School be able to use the AED, but anyone with a medical emergency nearby will, too. With the PulsePoint application, people will get directed to the nearest AED after activating 911.

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