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On April 9, 69 students from Honokaa High School, Kanu o ka Aina Charter School, Lapahoehoe High School and Parker School completed the American Heart Association-certified CPR training at the Thelma Parker gym in Waimea.
Cindy Shiraki, clinical nurse educator and community outreach nurse at North Hawaii Community Hospital, said the program not only brought together students from different schools, but also gathered important community volunteers in emergency services, such as firefighters, Life Flight team members, EMTs and registered nurses, to train the students.
“I thought it had a multi-use,” Shiraki said of the training. “A lot of the kids babysit, and many live with their grandparents or help take care of their parents. You never know when you will need CPR.”
The event was the first district-wide training in CPR for youth. The students were also trained to use automated external defibrillators, which Shiraki said are now in all schools and almost every shopping center. All students received official American Heart Association training cards valid for two years.
“It was a great event and every instructor said they were very happy,” she said.
Shiraki said the idea for the training came when she trained 24 students in the Honokaa High School Health Pathways program in February. She said the training not only helps the students learn resuscitation techniques, but it also introduced them to some of the emergency service and healthcare jobs available to them for a future vocation.
“We are looking for local children to come back to our community, and we need healthcare professionals,” Shiraki said
Shiraki said Shirley DeRego of the Duke and Alex DeRego Foundation encouraged the students to learn CPR to save lives.
“She started it off in the morning and turned it into a meaningful day,” Shiraki said of DeRego.
Shiraki said without the help of a variety of community organizations, the CPR training for youth wouldn’t have been possible. Waimea Middle School gave them use of the Thelma Parker gym and audio equipment. Hawaii Life Flight provided one assistant and two instructors, and gave each student reusable bags with a pocket CPR mask key chain. The County of Hawaii Fire Department sent two instructors, and NHCH provided four instructors, multiple assistants and equipment for class. Queens Medical Center in Honolulu donated $1,200 to buy hard cases for required protective CPR breathing masks for every student. Tutu’s House organized bus transportation, lunch and snacks, and Waimea Middle School offered their gym and audio equipment.
Some of the instructors who volunteered included: Renae Kendron, Dana Ast, Virginia McBride, David Rogue, Chris Honda, Jeanette Kawakami, Marty Collins, Susan Maddox, Jennifer Rabideau, Vickie Hicks, Diane Hale, Laurie Edmondson, Jeanette Kawakami, Krista Anderson and Shiraki. Ralph Yawata a private instructor, organized CPR instructors from Kona to Hilo to assist, and also brought mannequins and much of the needed equipment.
Shiraki said the program went well and that she hopes to have another training again in the future.
“It was fabulous,” Shiraki said. “I want every school that participated to be very proud of their students. They were so focused and they caught on so quickly.”