CPR now mandatory in Michigan schools
ESCANABA — Michigan students in grades seventh through 12th will now be required to learn CPR instruction in school after legislation was approved to add the training to curriculum by Michigan Lt. Governor Brian Calley recently. Locally, some area schools have taken action to meet the requirement, as they already teach the potentially life-saving method to their students. The law will take full effect in the 2017-18 academic year.
Under the new legislation, schools are required to provide CPR instruction, along with the use of defibrillators, at least one time between the academic grades of seventh through 12th. The instruction is for hands-on CPR only, which is a simpler training that does not require students to obtain certification or learn mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
In order to meet this requirement, which is needed for students to graduate high school, schools can incorporate it in an existing health class.
According to Darci Griebel, Escanaba junior and senior high school principal, Escanaba has had a CPR instructional course as part of its curriculum for many years.
Griebel noted having students know how to perform CPR is important, as it is a life skill that can be used in case of an emergency and she’s glad Escanaba has been able to offer this to their students.
“I’m proud of the fact we have been able to offer that to our students for the past couple of years,” said Griebel, adding if a situation were to arise with their family, the student would be prepared.
Assisting in the CPR courses at the school are Guidance Counselor Liz Schlenvogt and Registered Nurse (RN) Julie Cass, who are both CPR certified and instructors with the American Heart Association.
According to Schlenvogt, the school is more than prepared to handle this mandate.
“I feel better knowing our youth out in the community… will be better prepared to handle an emergency,” she said.
Schlenvogt explained she and Cass teach “friends and family CPR” which doesn’t require mouth-mouth resuscitation, but in the case of a child being in distress and needing CPR, the process is needed.
During the two sessions held, Schlenvogt said she and Cass allow the students to get a feel of what it would be like in a real-life scenario, acting out CPR on the mannequins for an adult, as well as a child. Escanaba has mannequins that are only head and torsos, so students can get the rhythm of CPR down pat.
Schlenvogt said she wishes first aid training was also mandated, as many of the activities residents take part in, such as four-wheeling and hunting, can be potentially dangerous.
Cass added the more people who know the basics of how to handle an emergency situation, the better.
“The more people who know what to do… the more lives could be saved,” said Cass.
Although Cass said having the training is wonderful, there are still some concerns with how some schools will fund the mandate, as this currently is not funded by the state of Michigan.
In Rapid River and Gladstone School districts, Superintendent Jay Kulbertis said health is a mandatory course and the CPR instruction will be incorporated into that.
Kulbertis said currently both districts do not have adequate equipment, such as mannequins, to practice CPR but the state is in the process of working out how it will help districts fund the purchase of proper equipment.
“That is what our expectation is,” he said, adding Gladstone and Rapid River also provides CPR training to their employees.
He noted the schools hope to have CPR training in health courses offered in middle school and again in ninth grade, as a refresher course.
“It would give them the ability to be helpful if a situation were to arise,” he said.
If the general public is interested in learning CPR, residents can refer to the M-TEC building located on Bay College’s campus where various courses are held throughout the year. According to Renee Lundberg, manager of workforce development and training at M-TEC, the building holds American Heart Association Courses related to CPR and First Aid every month. Courses for 2017 will start in February.
Costs and length of courses are as follows:
First Aid: 3 hours, $57
CPR and AED: 3 hours, $65
Full Course (CPR, First Aid and AED): 6 hours, $85
Lundberg said she encourages the general public to come and learn CPR because anytime a situation can arise and it’s a bonus to be prepared and know how to handle it.
The M-TEC building also offers contracted American Heart Association Courses to employees around the area.
Anyone interested in attending the courses may contact Lundberg at (906)217-4224.